Growing Things and Other Stories (Paperback)
A New York Times Notable Book
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award
"One of the best collections of the 21st century." — Stephen King
A chilling collection of psychological suspense and literary horror from the multiple award-winning author of the national bestseller The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts.
A masterful anthology featuring nineteen pieces of short fiction, Growing Things is an exciting glimpse into Paul Tremblay’s fantastically fertile imagination.
In “The Teacher,” a Bram Stoker Award nominee for best short story, a student is forced to watch a disturbing video that will haunt and torment her and her classmates’ lives.
Four men rob a pawn shop at gunpoint only to vanish, one-by-one, as they speed away from the crime scene in “The Getaway.”
In “Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks,” a meth addict kidnaps her daughter from her estranged mother as their town is terrorized by a giant monster . . . or not.
Joining these haunting works are stories linked to Tremblay’s previous novels. The tour de force metafictional novella “Notes from the Dog Walkers” deconstructs horror and publishing, possibly bringing in a character from A Head Full of Ghosts, all while serving as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil’s Rock. “The Thirteenth Temple” follows another character from A Head Full of Ghosts—Merry, who has published a tell-all memoir written years after the events of the novel. And the title story, “Growing Things,” a shivery tale loosely shared between the sisters in A Head Full of Ghosts, is told here in full.
From global catastrophe to the demons inside our heads, Tremblay illuminates our primal fears and darkest dreams in startlingly original fiction that leaves us unmoored. As he lowers the sky and yanks the ground from beneath our feet, we are compelled to contemplate the darkness inside our own hearts and minds.
About the Author
Paul Tremblay has won the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and Massachusetts Book awards and is the author of Growing Things, The Cabin at the End of the World, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, A Head Full of Ghosts, and the crime novels The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland. His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly online, and numerous year’s-best anthologies. He has a master’s degree in mathematics and lives outside Boston with his family.
“[Growing Things] brilliantly takes ordinary situations—an author reading, an AP history class, a family vacation—and seamlessly sprinkles in a sense of unease that quickly builds to a sense of pure horror. . . . These are stories that live in the increasing popular space between literary fiction and horror, where speculative terrors and very real universal truths collide.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“In these 19 stories, Tremblay doesn’t just hold a mirror up to reality, but live-streams it, projecting the whole spectrum of our modern anxieties so vividly it feels as if we’re watching in real time . . . . You can’t help feeling that he is a writer whose reach will continue to grow and grow and grow.”
— New York Times Book Review
“Tremblay’s unsettling prose, filled with poetic metaphors, sets an ominous tone, and readers will be sucked in from page one.”
— Library Journal
“It is a terrible thing to read a Paul Tremblay story. . . Terrible because you know, going in, that it’s probably going to mess you up. That his stories and his words have this way of getting under your skin. Of crawling inside you like bugs and just . . . living there. They become indistinguishable from memory. . . It’s terrible to read these stories, but you do it anyway. . . They’re fun because they’re dangerous. Because, word by word and title by title, I can feel the damage accruing. The scars.”
“These frighteningly imaginative slices of horror are often far more chilling than their relatively mundane inspirations. . . . . From high fantasy to monsters to (literally) Hellboy, [Growing Things has] something for everyone who digs things that go bump in the night.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Paul Tremblay has mastered creepy, interstitial spaces with his own brand of supernatural-adjacent horror. This collection proves again that in any form, at any length, Tremblay is a must-read.”
— Chuck Wendig, New York Times bestselling author of Wanderers and Invasive
“Those hoping for the perfect balance of terror and psychological insight that makes for the most frightening reading should flock to Growing Things.”
— Los Angeles Times
“On display is Tremblay’s gift for inventive storytelling techniques, most notably his bold use of metafictional narrative conceits such as invented emails, blog entries, articles, and other detritus of the digital world. A great introduction to Tremblay’s oeuvre.”
— Toronto Star
“Taken as a whole, the book confirms Tremblay’s atmospheric mastery, his ability to capture a growing sense of Not Right, the moment when dream goes nightmare.”
— Boston Globe
“A skilled purveyor of the uncanny who always seeks meaning amidst the fear, Paul Tremblay is one of the key writers who have made modern horror exciting again.”
— Adam Nevill, author of The Ritual
“Intensely gripping. . . . Tremblay weaves these dark and often macabre narratives quite deftly, cradling the reader between reality and the implausible.”
“Paul Tremblay’s writing has a way of sneaking under your skin and messing with your head. . . . Growing Things is a collection of bite-sized, disturbing and brilliantly observed stories . . . Some will make you question everything you thought you knew about the craft of writing.”
— Sarah Lotz, author of The Three and The White Road
“A short story collection from a favorite author is just the best possible thing in the world; Growing Things is among the best of them.”
— Cemetery Dance
Growing Things shows Tremblay is as adept at short fiction as he is at writing novels and proves he’s one of the best, most innovative writers in contemporary horror. . . . Taken together, it’s easy to see why this masterful book, which Stephen King called one of the “best collections of the 21st century,” was a New York Times Notable Book and a winner of the Bram Stoker Award. Tremblay is at the forefront of his generation, taking horror into uncharted territory via unique formats, groundbreaking storytelling, and smart experimentation, and this collection shows he’s still improving.
— Los Angeles Review of Books