Smart young writer’s novel takes ‘domestic menace’ to wild places


Smart young writer’s novel takes ‘domestic menace’ to wild places

Daisy Johnson’s new book puts a chilling and sinister spin on sisterhood

Michele Magwood

In a year stalked by plague and fear, it is surprising how the appetite for horror is undiminished. The most eagerly awaited features on Netflix recently were the supernatural chiller The Haunting of Bly Manor and the remake of the ageless ghost story Rebecca. The maestro Stephen King has had a bumper year with a new novel If It Bleeds and adaptations for television of The Outsider and The Stand.

Daisy Johnson lists King as a major influence on her writing, but she doesn’t refer to her books as horror, preferring the term “domestic menace”.

She is a slip of a thing, not yet 30, with curling blonde hair and the appley-dapply red cheeks you normally see on children in British Christmas cards. And yet she is emerging as a mistress of the art of dark storytelling. In her first outing two years ago, she was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize, the youngest author to have done so. That novel, Everything Under, was a brilliant, bent take on the Oedipus myth that was lauded by the judges for its “sinister sensitivity”...

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