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In the Valley of the Kings


Terrence Holt (Author, University of North Carolina School of Medicine)

Overview | Inside the Book

"One of the finest American writers alive . . . he is Melville + Poe + Borges but with a heart far more capacious."—Junot Díaz

Praised for his "beautifully crafted and strangely surreal" (Peter Matthiessen) stories, Terrence Holt had been operating under the literary radar for more than fifteen years, placing award-winning stories in such noted journals as Zoetrope, Kenyon Review, and TriQuarterly. With the release of this debut collection, Holt's work takes its "rightful place besides those works of genius—fiction, philosophy, theology—unafraid of axing into our iced hearts" (William Giraldi, New York Times Book Review). Whether chronicling a plague that ravages a New England town or the anguish of a son who keeps his father's beating heart in a jar, Holt's stories oscillate between the rational and the surreal, the future and the past, masterfully weaving together reality and myth. Like Poe or Hawthorne, "Holt is a gifted wordsmith, his sentences carefully shaped and often beautiful, and he spins these ancient, irresolvable dilemmas in an elegiac poetry" (Los Angeles Times).

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • September 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-393-33908-6
  • 5.5 × 8.2 in / 223 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

In the Valley of the Kings does what all great story collections should: it challenges the mind while opening the spirit. Each of these short pieces sets a haunting scenario outside the ordinary realm—men traveling in space, or excavating the tombs of ancient Egyptian kings, or living through an apocalypse. The characters are all faced with mysteries to solve, but it is Terrence Holt’s careful exploration of the loneliness and obsession these men harbor that elevates this book, in all its uniqueness and beauty. Long after a reader finishes these stories, they will be puzzling and thinking and dreaming of the worlds Terrence Holt has created.” — Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

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