Photo by Hasnain Babar on Unsplash I can’t usually stomach full-fledged horror, but give me a flicker of the unsettling or otherworldly in literature and I’m hooked. There’s no idyllic suburb in which I’m not looking for a barbaric ritual, or a new friend whose eyes I’m not searching for some terrible secret. In the earliest days of the pandemic, unable to leave my London flat and working my day job atop a gradually collapsing cardboard box, I began watching videos of theme park rides breaking down and animatronics malfunctioning. Sitting there, my skin would prickle and my heart would race. I simply couldn’t get enough. Why is it that the more elaborately built our environment is, the more fragile our sanity seems to become? What does that say about the biggest theme parks in the world? And what happens in dark rides when the lights come on? I wrote At the End of Every Day for people with the same curiosity coursing through their adrenal system, who are addicted to the eerie jolt of an optical illusion gone wrong. In my novel, Delphi has been working at an iconic and beloved theme park ever since she fled her hometown in Nebraska. But when a terrible incident transpires (involving an actress, the opening of a lagoon ride, and very realistic animatronics), the park must shutter for good. While finishing out their last weeks, Delphi and her fairytale-prince-boyfriend begin to notice strange glitches in the park, faces in the shadows, and a pull to a mysterious heat in the corridors beneath their feet. Here are 7 books with a dark playfulness, with settings of strange innocence or nostalgia. Take a break from the news We publish your favorite authors—even the ones you haven’t read yet. Get new fiction, essays, and poetry delivered to your inbox. Submit Kate Folk’s debut collection has already cemented its cult status with stories like “The Bone Ward”, in which romantic entanglements come to a head in a sanatorium for people whose bones turn to goo in the night, and the titular “Out There”, which depicts […]

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