Magic Terror by Peter Straub

Magic Terror

Magic Terror by Peter Straub

Published: 2000



Magic Terror by Peter Straub is a collection of 7 short stories. I love Straub’s full-length novels.  His short stories often leave me hanging, confused, and irritated.  That being said, here’s my brief take on each of them.


Ashputtle….wish this hadn’t been first, as I wasn’t that impressed. It’s about a kindergarten teacher who is going nuts.   1 star

Isn’t It Romantic…. could have done without this one too. Spy stories are not my favorite, no matter the writer.  It left me confused.   1 star

The Ghost Village….Now this is Straub!  A VietNam story reminiscent of Koko.  Really good! (Glad I stuck around for this one, almost quit reading after the second story)   5 stars

Bunny is Good Bread….Strange story about a young boy’s life while his father went to extreme measures to keep his dying wife alive in the bedroom.  Abuse all around, but good.  4 stars

PorkPie Hat.…….The story of a Jazz musician who tells his Halloween story to a young English major.  Very good!   5 stars

Hunger, An Introduction…….A ghost story, but surprisingly not up to much.   1 star

Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff………Wonderful!  A wealthy businessman hires two rather strange assassins to “punish” his cheating wife.   Hilarious, and gory.  Excellent!   5 stars


As you can see, I either loved them or hated them, so there was really no middle ground. Straub is a wonderful writer, and I will continue to read his books, but maybe not his short stories.

Note to self.…if you can’t get into the story within the first 10 pages, move on…..there are better ones to come.


Read: March 2017


Favorite Quotes from Magic Terror:

“I am thinking of Zena and the time she told me that weeping on my mother’s grave wouldn’t make a glorious wonderful tree grow there, it would just drown my mother in mud.” (Ashputtle)

“You gotta find new places for yourself, or else nothing’s happening, isn’t that right? Don’t want to be a repeater pencil.” (PorkPie Hat)

“But one thing funny about the place, white and colored lived there just the same—it was integrated.” (PorkPie Hat)

“The meaning of tragedy is:  All is in order, all is in train.  It only hurts for a little while.  Change is the first law of life.” (Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff)



About the Author:   Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is the author of a number of full-length novels, short stories, and poetry.   He has received numerous literary honors such as the Bram Stoker Award, World Fantasy World, and the International Horror Guild award.  His father hoped that he would grow up to be a professional athlete, while his mother wanted him to be a Lutheran minister.  I am sure they were both proud.



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