This Fiction Genre Will, Without a Doubt, Change Your Life

I knew I was in love with southern gothic stories before I even finished the opening sentence of the first one I'd ever picked up: "When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house," writes William Faulkner in "A Rose for Emily." See what I mean? I might go so far as to say this genre literally changed my life, a fittingly dramatic but true statement, since it really catalyzed my love of reading and writing. 

Indeed, southern gothic stories showed us what we can do with words—how narrative and language stretch our interior and external worlds—and it indulges a love of all things brooding. They involve all things heavy, from the damp, oppressive heat of the region to the weight of a violent history, and the decay of once-magnificent Antebellum homes, which all create a rather compelling backdrop for damaged protagonists and family dramas. Say it with us: The bleaker the better. 

If you, too, take a morbid delight in histrionics and history, satire and dark humor, you're going to want to pick up the southern gothic novels on our reading list below. From the grotesque imagery to biting social commentary and brilliant storytelling, these southern gothic novels are everything you'd look for in both an enriching and entertaining read. Prepare to be moved to chills of all varieties, including those that flare up from both beauty and distress.