James Lasdun --> reviewed by Alec Solomita -->

The first story in James Lasdun’s latest collection of fiction, It’s Beginning to Hurt, is called “An Anxious Man.” Half of the book’s sixteen witty and harrowing narratives could bear the same title. And nearly all of the stories could be subtitled “The Anxious Reader”: Lasdun’s ability to unsettle his readers, to usher them within a few sentences into a state of high anxiety, is peerless. Poe, Kleist, and Spark, step aside! Lasdun makes the wind whistle through your heart. He’s the scariest writer since Jonathan Edwards.

Lasdun is spiritual heir to that brilliant evangelical writer and preacher rather than to the more sanguine Franz Kafka, with whom he is often compared. He’s...


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