Reviews

I Am The River: A Novel

I Am The River - Cover - May 15, 2018

“Grau’s poetic prose and stunning evocation of time and place… from the killing fields of Vietnam to the haunted alleyways of Bangkok, form a fever dream of copious bloodshed and many shades of gray.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

“With echoes of Peter Straub’s KOKO and Apocalypse Now, T.E. Grau’s blazing, immersive novel takes us on the hell-ride of the Vietnam War’s last days as its raging waters also carry us through the first of our last days. I AM THE RIVER is a hallucinatory tour de force.” — Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World

 

“A sense of being hunted, and haunted, hits you right from the start of I Am The River. That mood only grows in intensity as the scope of this novel’s nightmare takes shape. It’s supernatural and geopolitical and an unforgettable time. Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke comes to mind, the work of Peter Straub and Tim O’Brien, too. In other words T.E. Grau is writing the good stuff. Get some.”  —  Victor LaValle, author The Ballad of Black Tom

 

I Am The River is the kind of thing that might happen if Algernon Blackwood had been brought in to do a rewrite of Apocalypse Now. A man barely holding onto his sanity in Bangkok remains haunted, stalked by a huge hound and undone by his own addiction.  His only way out is through revisiting his past in the Vietnam War and the secret PSY-OPS mission he was involved in–and which he’s been running from ever since.  A haunting meditation on war, death, addiction, and responsibility, with mindblowing forays into the weird.” — Brian Evenson, author of A Collapse of Horses and The Warren

 

“An intelligent accumulation of inner and outer darkness.” — Adam Nevill, author of The Ritual

 

“A lush green nightmarish journey into the dark, reminiscent of the late, great Lucius Shepard.” — Ben Loory, author of Tales of Falling and Flying

 

I Am The River is a horror novel, yes, and it never skimps on its mission to unsettle us. It is also a book that finds horror not only in blood and shadows, but in the very real abysses that separate us: race, culture, and the manipulations of people by governments and by war. It moves quickly and intelligently from its first page to its last, evoking its nightmares in gorgeous, evocative, disturbing prose. A must-read!” — Christopher Coake, author of You Came Back

 

I Am The River moves with fluid grace, flowing between times, places, and perspectives as it carries us through its protagonist’s surreal experience of the Vietnam War and his part in a covert mission which refuses to loose its grip on him. Located at the hot, humid intersection of Tim O’Brien’s classic Going After Cacciato and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, this novel plunges us into war at its most extreme and insane, when the methods employed for defeating the enemy leave reason behind for terror and myth. Ted Grau’s writing continues to move from strength to strength.” — John Langan, author of The Fisherman

 

”A disorienting and devastating evocation of the horrors of war and PTSD. T.E. Grau has written infused the War Novel with dark mythic imagery that sears like napalm.” — Craig Laurance Gidney, author of Sea, Swallow Me and Other Stories

 

“Hallucinatory, gripping and haunting, I Am The River should rank as one of the best novels of 2018. The masterful point of view shifts and often stream-of-consciousness pacing makes for a riveting, oneiric read. In the author’s hands, this bleak, nightmarish and deeply unsettling tale is not only palatable… but delectable. Of course, I expect such quality from Grau. Everything he has written heretofore is bizarre, literary gold. That stated, this book represents Grau’s best work to date, and it is a must read.” — Jon Padgett, author of The Secret of Ventriloquism

 

“I don’t often say this, but here it needs to be said:  I Am The River is a modern literary masterpiece, and one that will be remembered long after we are returned to dust. It’s a mind-bending, soul-destroying meditation on morality and despair and conflict, on the trials of the human spirit during times of war when the line between good and evil is intangible. Impeccably written, compulsively readable, I Am The River deserves every ounce of praise it’s going to get, and then some, and marks Grau as an extraordinary talent.” — Kealan Patrick Burke, author of The Turtle Boy and Kin

 

“Grau is our boatman on this psychedelic journey of ghosts and guilt, artillery and atonement. More than a war story, I Am The River forces us to confront the bloody aftereffects in a way that is both powerful and poignant. A cautionary tale for the soul.” — Ian Rogers, author of Every House Is Haunted

  

This is a genuinely powerful read, one in which I suspect many a reader will be captivated. Remarkably confident, Grau’s lush yet tight-as-a-clenched-fist prose is sinewy and beautiful. As evocative of place as Gustav Hasford at his best, but laced with horrors, weird and disturbing as diseased dreams. All too human, emotionally resonant, this one is a nightmarish spectacle of human depravity as shocking as a Bill Shields poem. Heartbreaking and unforgettable, Grau’s debut novel is a must-read.” — Christopher Slatsky, author of Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales

 

“T. E. Grau’s dark tale of suffering and the quest for redemption pushes the limits of psychological horror. Deeply poetic and disturbing, it reveals that even in the darkest corners of the soul, a faint humanity can be seen glittering and it’s simply beautiful.” — Seb Doubinsky, author of The Song of Synth and White City

 

“Very rarely, readers are presented with a work that will not only stand the test of time, but also ingrain itself deeply into our thoughts while forcing us to question the very beliefs and notions we have come to accept as the truth… We have no doubt that I Am The River will join the likes of The Fisherman by John Langan, in regards to its position amongst modern heavyweights… This novel is going to make waves in the horror community and it’s going to cement T.E. Grau as one of the best authors working today.” — Gehenna & Hinnom

 

With I Am The River, Grau blossoms into a fully accomplished voice in literary horror (or, perhaps, the literary weird). My resolve to keep track of his writing career is stronger now than ever… This is certainly, from what I’ve read so far, the finest release of 2018.” — Silent Motorist Media

 

“Be prepared for a hypnotic journey, which effortlessly straddles genres, and will surely rank amongst the strongest, curious and most original novels of 2018.” — Ginger Nuts of Horror

 

“This is an outstanding piece of writing and, given that there is so much in it, it’s surprising that it’s at the shorter end of the word-count for a novel. It’s a book that satisfies on so many levels and one which has raised my expectation for what Ted comes up with next to even higher levels.” — Dark Musings

 

“Back in 2015, T.E. Grau gifted us with a story collection so good, I still tremble with excitement just thinking about it (The Nameless Dark). He has a new book coming out next month set during ‘the last desperate days of the Vietnam War’ about an American soldier ‘assigned to a secretive CIA PSYOP far beyond enemy lines.’ Hell yeah.” — The 15 Most Anticipated Horror Books of 2018 at LitReactor

 

“I’m a massive fan of the shorter fiction of Ted E. Grau, who is one of the best short story writers in America today. So, I am particularly excited to see how this debut novel pans out when it is released in February 2018; thus far I’ve deliberately not read much too about it. I want it to be a surprise. However, I’m sure Grau’s journey into the dark madness of the Vietnam War will be a memorable one and an early highlight of 2018.” — 2018 Preview in Tony Jones‘ “Top 10 Horror Books of 2017” at HorrorTalk

 

They Don’t Come Home Anymore: A Novella

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“Readers picking up T.E. Grau’s novella They Don’t Come Anymore will meet a writer at the top of his game presenting a compelling protagonist and original tale in page after page of masterful prose.” —  John C. Foster

 

“I’ve had the opportunity recently to read some outstanding fiction with some of the strongest, most well-developed female leads that I’ve seen in recent years, and They Don’t Come Home Anymore continues that trend in exemplary fashion. Hettie is a fully formed independent female character with a mind of her own and a determination to achieve her goals regardless of who—or what—might attempt to deter her… They Don’t Come Home Anymore brings together a cast of unique, quirky characters, gorgeous prose, and imagery, a spin on a familiar theme that literally makes it a brand new trope like nothing you’ve read before. It’s something he’s done with all his work but never with as much confidence and success as what he’s given us here.” —  Shane Douglas Keene at Hellnotes

 

“Hettie is difficult not to root for as a character, Grau’s poetic and sometimes disturbing language strengthening the backbone of her universe and all who inhabit it. The cautionary tale is at times exciting, terrifying, hopeful, and deranged, constantly bouncing between themes with powerful writing that does not allow any separation of attention from the readers who travel with Hettie as she tries to save her friend, Avery, from certain death.” — Gehenna & Hinnom

 

“At its core, They Don’t Come Home Anymore comes across as the most twisted and startling and tender of love stories. It portrays the loneliness, the bitchiness and the tenderness of high school, and the more general complacency or malignance of human beings. It’s other-than-human elements, reimagined from familiar monsters you wouldn’t think had any blood left in them, are fleeting and sharply drawn. There are so many layers to Grau’s excellent novella, but even on a surface level it’s brilliant and, perhaps most importantly, immense fun.”  —  Aksel Dadswell at Larval Forms

 

“If you have any affection for vampire fiction – in any form – you’ll get a kick out of They Don’t Come Home Anymore. Personally, as a reader who cut her teeth (excuse the pun) on Anne Rice, and whose favourite book of all time is Let The Right One In, I absolutely loved this novella, and devoured it in a day.” —  Emma Whitehall at Unnerving Magazine

 

“Few authors have an original paradigm to offer their audience. They Don’t Come Home Anymore is very much a  T.E. Grau story where the boundaries between the natural world and the Greater Unknown are permeable and available to those who refuse natural order, yet it is unlike anything he’s done before. It’s both a fragmented nightmare and a heartbreaking allegory that you won’t soon forget. Weird fiction is going to new and interesting places, thanks to original and ambitious voices such as T.E. Grau.”  —  Benoît Lelièvre at Dead End Follies

 

“There’s a lot going on in They Don’t Come Home Anymore, a rich vein of themes dare I say – artificiality, peer-pressure, loss of innocence, a sense of identity and many more besides – perhaps demanding a second read through to fully appreciate them all. It’s a book which deserves real critical analysis – a much deeper and more detailed critique than this one but I have to say I loved every word of it.”  —  Anthony Watson at Dark Musings

 

“Like any story set in high school, They Don’t Come Home Anymore is about belonging. The need to connect, whether to an individual or a larger social group. The “cool kids.” Goths. Religion. The eternal undead. As is frequently the case with these types of stories, it is also about obsession… Notice I haven’t mentioned the V word, because that’s not really what this story is about. But that element is there, combining old and new, poking holes in tropes and creating new ones, to put the cherry on top of this sundae of desperation and misguided loyalty. Grau sets the scene with assurance, meting out information in such a way as to keep us guessing about the inevitable. Because we all know how this story ends, right? Like Hettie, we think we do.”  —  Joshua Chaplinsky at LitReactor

 

“This novella touches on quite a few subjects, not just vampire mythos but also the cruelty of high schoolers, the big business of phony authors, and the underhanded tactics of born-again cults. But most importantly, it paints Hettie as a kind of anti-hero, trying to accomplish something that is obviously wrong, but you can’t help root for her. She is complex and layered, at times lucid and relateable, but quickly switches to choosing fantasy over reality. This makes the story all the more scary and sad, as readers are forced to confront their own hypocrisies…”  —  Matt Lewis at HorrorTalk

 

“I stepped into this very entertaining novella deliberately blind, knowing nothing of the plot and am pleased to say I was enthralled until the very last page. Actually, I pretty much read this enticing little story in one sitting and late into the night. Did it take me where I was expecting it to take me? No, and that’s much of the fun of reading great dark fiction; the plot often weaves into unexpected areas.”  —  Tony Jones at Ginger Nuts of Horror

 

The Nameless Dark: A Collection

The Nameless Dark Cover

“The dark fiction in Grau’s first collection is nicely twisted, with stories that play on the best of eldritch horror, creating a sense of dread and the unexplained instead of overt malevolence.”  —  Publishers Weekly

 

The Nameless Dark by T.E. Grau (Lethe Press) is the debut by another fresh voice. These fourteen stories, all published since 2011 (three of them new), show off the author’s range…”  —  Ellen Datlow in Best Horror of the Year Volume 8

 

“I got onto this because of the cover popping up in my social media timeline, and hooboy. ‘Return of the Prodigy’ is my all time favourite short story, a reluctant honeymoon of unkind satire and Lovecraftian inevitability. Tubby’s Big Swim is a triumphant tale of a bullied outcast and his pet cephalopod. Grau grounds all of his horror in characters so real they’ll take over your brainspace.” — BP Gregory‘s “Top 10 Reads of 2017″ (listed #2) at Kendall Reviews

 

“Grau crafts stories which tingle the intellect and gut-punch the emotions as they probe the dark corners of reality, giving you a glimpse of things you’d rather not see. It has been a while since a book this good has come down the chute… The Nameless Dark is destined to become a classic of the highest order.”  —  PopHorror.com

 

“Frequenters of horror should include The Nameless Dark in their ‘must reads’ list, while considering that this collection holds a rare distinction of being so well-written that fans of the genre will be helpless but to visit the terrifying realms of Grau’s imagination again and again. Establishing himself as an authority that deserves to be recognized, dark fiction’s most promising young voice detonates into the field of horror with cataclysmic power, harnessing enough fire to not only stand beside the other greats, but to also cement his position amongst them for many years to come.” —  Gehenna & Hinnom

 

“T.E. Grau has a way of writing tales that are at once terrifying and wondrous, and what’s really remarkable about the stories in The Nameless Dark is that there isn’t a single story in the bunch that’s anything less than brilliant. Grau takes you down dark, horrific pathways, keeping you on the edge of your seat and reading until the final, petrifying sentence.”  —  Shane Douglas Keene at This Is Horror

 

“It’s a collection of horror stories but there’s wit here too, a dark humour that threads its way through the stories, raising smiles amidst the shudders. It’s there in the dialogue, in the descriptions of the characters populating these tales – a description of someone being ‘the shape and consistency of a potato’ made me laugh out loud.”  — Anthony Watson at Dark Musings

 

“… If there is one adjective that comes to mind, it’s ‘rich.’ Each story in The Nameless Dark reads the way a barrel-aged stout tastes. You want to sip it slowly, ruminating on the notes and nuances that dance on your tongue. You want to think about what you just ingested. That’s a T.E. Grau story. Hell, that’s a T.E. Grau paragraph. To read these stories is to recognize that you’re in the hands of a writer in control of his language, hurling fully formed images at the page like daggers with pin-point precision. It’s downright inspiring.” —  Pour Vida Magazine

 

“There are many readers who would otherwise value what I already know… to be groundbreaking human literature by Grau of the highest calibre… This is a remarkable reading experience and, with the first half’s word-crepitating drive and sensibility of a Roth or Updike, we are taken by the scruff of the cerebral neck from out of that natural delight in a literature of such Rabbit, Run dodging tumbleweed of existence and then taken, via form of gateways to abomination, within a different but equally natural literature that we love, too, a literature of a Lovecraft or a King…”  —  Des Lewis at The Dreamcatcher Real-Time Reviews

 

“Grau’s debut collection of fourteen new and republished pieces of fiction ably demonstrated why you lucky readers should be excited about the wonderful world of horror and weird fiction. I have said it before and I will say it again that I truly believe that the genre is currently experiencing a bit of a renaissance in terms of the breadth and quality of writing. The Nameless Dark is a prime example of this. Over the course of his collection, Grau presents an assured, confident and intelligent approach to traditional horror tenets such as cosmic horror, serial killers, werewolves and myths and weaves them into new forms that feel fresh and inventive. If you like stories with style, panache, solid characterization and damn it, just great storytelling, this is as good a place to start as any.”  —  George Anderson’s BEST HORROR FICTION OF 2015

 

“I truly believe that horror is going through a bit of a renaissance period with a whole slew of small print publishers and authors producing truly world class fiction. Another prime example of this trend is T.E. Grau’s ‘The Nameless Dark’, a collection of fourteen new and republished pieces of fiction that ably demonstrate his writing skills and ability across a range of different settings, time periods and styles…. This really is quite a startling collection from T.E. Grau and ‘The Nameless Dark’ is yet again another example of why people should be excited about horror and weird fiction in general. If you like stories with style, panache, solid characterization and damn it, just great storytelling, this is as good a place to start as any. Hell, when you have Nathan Ballingrud writing your intro you know that you must be doing something right!” —  Ginger Nuts of Horror

 

“What makes T.E Grau’s horror stand out from the pack is that Grau understand one tiny little detail that other horror writers don’t: horror is a feeling of unspeakable terror and helplessness you trigger in your audience’s mind. It can have many faces, take any means necessary to get there, but it’s a lot more efficient if you keep your audience guessing. The characters of T.E Grau all question their sanity in good Lovecraftian fashion, unsure if they are losing their mind or if reality is collapsing around them. What gives Grau’s fiction an identify beyond its Lovecraftian inspiration is its blissful ambivalence: you never TRULY know either. You too are in the nameless dark.”  —  Benoît Lelièvre  at  Dead End Follies (also named a NOTABLE READ OF 2015 by Dead End Follies, and described as a collection of “Uncompromising and obscenely intelligent horror stories.”)

 

“A Collection,” it states. Grau’s The Nameless Dark is so much more than that! This collection is a beast, unafraid to wield words in every way imaginable to make its points. Spitting and snarling, the writing is full-bodied, muscular. It growls, it roars, and slashes with a mighty talon. Okay, enough of that, but you get my point. Grau is fearless. Description and details, the depth of ideas—nothing here settles for ‘small’ in the scope of the horrors unleashed… Impressive is an understatement. Grau’s The Nameless Dark a beast ready to devour the minds of readers of Weird Horror willing to make the sacrifice. I can still hear it chewing on mine! Highly recommended!”  —  John Claude Smith at The Wilderness Within

 

“With the unleashing of The Nameless Dark, T. E. Grau has cemented himself as an author whose byline should spark in readers a joyful expectancy for what surprises there are to follow…”  —  Jose Cruz at The Haunted Omnibus

 

“Ted Grau can write – let’s make no bones about it. My first impression while reading this collection, even during the opening story, related to the strength of the prose, the jaunty, hip, rhythmic, colourful, witty, acerbic flow of writing which possesses a power all of its own. That makes reading Grau a real pleasure…” —  Gary Fry

 

“… Grau has managed quite a feat here: turning out a stunning collection comprised of the first group of stories he ever published. It is a testament to the breadth of quality work being done in the horror genre today that Grau has flown under the radar until now, but I believe that will change soon. This Is Horror is scheduled to publish two of Grau’s novellas next year, and I would be surprised if he isn’t nominated for some hardware (Shirley Jackson award, maybe?) next year. That’s a good thing; a writer as good as Grau should be benefiting from the current horror boom, not being hidden within it.” —  Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen

 

“With The Nameless Dark, T.E. Grau has assembled a collection of memorable stories that evoke a multitude of emotions and touch on myriad themes and issues that are more relevant today than ever. Whether it’s a Mythos-inspired tale, or a Laird Barron tribute, Grau writes in a style and voice that are all his own. He has firmly planted himself in the Weird Renaissance we are currently experiencing, and should be on the radar of every reader, critic, writer, and publisher. Grau is drawing power from primordial wells, and everyone will feel it.”  —  Joseph Zanetti at Musings from the Outer Worlds

 

“T.E. Grau offers up an impressive collection of weird tales, bringing a fresh, new and compelling voice to the classic sub-genre. These stories will haunt you into the deep hours of the night…and they will have you thinking the rest of the time.” — Reclusive Reads

 

“I wanted to savor each story, at least a little bit, and these aren’t the kinds of stories that you want to read while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or something. These things require a certain amount of ceremony. Reading The Nameless Dark is the kind of thing that feels like it needs to be done right.” — Orrin Grey

 

“The Nameless Dark is a perfect title for this collection of stories. For the feeling of something indescribable emanating from a blackness void to terrify and then destroy you is certainly the sensation I got from involving myself in these tales. Inside these pages lie 14 stories that will, there’s no other way to put it, shit you right up!” — Morgan K Tanner

 

“‘The Nameless Dark’ is the perfect title to a perfect collection of horror stories.” —  Seb Doubinsky

 

La Oscuridad Innombrable 

(Spanish edition of The Nameless Dark, translated by Jose Angel De Dios García and Maite Aranda, published by Dilatando Mentes Editorial)

PORTADA FRONTAL

“In addition to the development of the character and the images, another great strength that Grau brings to the page is an incredible control of the rhythm. He takes his time where he needs it, feeding fragments of background stories, and he throws rockets at you like a bat from hell. Leaving you with no other option but to hold on tight and enjoy the trip… TE Grau has a wonderful way of writing. He is an author who from now on I will watch closely. His latest book I Am The River is giving a lot to talk about.” — Juan José Castillo at Crónicas Literarias

 

“Grau paints his own night landscape…. [“The Mission”]… the best without a doubt, a small masterpiece that should have procured countless awards to its author. Really deserves all the praise, dynamiting the pastiche is one of the most visual and tense stories I’ve read in years.” — Bob Rock at Almas Oscuras

 

“Next Monday, February 5, ‘The unmentionable darkness’ of TE Grau will be on sale thanks to the Dilatando Mentes publishing house, which will be the literary debut in the national market of the American writer.

The work itself is a collection of weird tales with which Grau pays homage to the old and well-known pulp stories of HP Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith or Robert E. Howard, although that is undoubtedly narrated with its own voice and in such a disturbing way , macabre and imaginative that free him from falling into the pastiche and serve him to create a new universe of cosmic terrors older than the Earth itself in which they shelter crouched in the darkest recesses.

If you take a look at your original file in the social network Goodreads , you can check how it has a rating of 4.19 out of 5, so it gives us full guarantees of enjoying great moments of reading.” — Pablo Del Corral at FantasyMundo

 

The Nameless Dark – Audiobook/Audible

(Performed by Armen Taylor)

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“Grau’s book is one of those excellent collections of weird fiction that we’ve been so fortunate to encounter this year, his language flowing and beautiful. Grau’s prose is poetic, often almost lyrical, and Taylor’s narration is a perfect fit for it, his voice as dark and rich as the stories he reads.”  —  Shane Douglas Keene at This Is Horror

 

Podcast Reviews

Booked Podcast (November 24, 2016) – They Don’t Come Home Anymore

 

Miscellaneous Reviews & Articles

Jack Vs. the Fungi From Yuggoth: T.E. Grau’s ‘The Truffle Pig‘” —  The Lovecraft Reread (February 14, 2018) at Tor.com

 

 

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I Am The River: A Novel

Now available from Lethe Press

They Don’t Come Home Anymore: A Novella

Winner of Dark Muse Award for Best Novella of 2016

The Nameless Dark: A Collection

Finalist for the 2015 Shirley Jackson Award for Single-Author Collection

La Oscuridad Innombrable

Spanish Edition of The Nameless Dark, available February 5, 2018 from Dilatando Mentes Editorial

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