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Fiction Gothic

Grey Dog

by (author) Elliott Gish

ECW Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2024
Gothic, Horror, Literary, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2024
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2024
    List Price

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“Gish’s prose is as sharp as a scalpel.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

Grey Dog is a bewitching tale of the horrors of spinsterhood in the early 1900s, with madness and magic threaded through every sentence.” — Heather O’Neill, author of When We Lost Our Heads and Lullabies for Little Criminals

A subversive literary horror novel that disrupts the tropes of women’s historical fiction with delusions, wild beasts, and the uncontainable power of female rage

The year is 1901, and Ada Byrd — spinster, schoolmarm, amateur naturalist — accepts a teaching post in isolated Lowry Bridge, grateful for the chance to re-establish herself where no one knows her secrets. She develops friendships with her neighbors, explores the woods with her students, and begins to see a future in this tiny farming community. Her past — riddled with grief and shame — has never seemed so far away.

But then, Ada begins to witness strange and grisly phenomena: a swarm of dying crickets, a self-mutilating rabbit, a malformed faun. She soon believes that something old and beastly — which she calls Grey Dog — is behind these visceral offerings, which both beckon and repel her. As her confusion deepens, her grip on what is real, what is delusion, and what is traumatic memory loosens, and Ada takes on the wildness of the woods, behaving erratically and pushing her newfound friends away. In the end, she is left with one question: What is the real horror? The Grey Dog, the uncontainable power of female rage, or Ada herself?

About the author

Contributor Notes

Elliott Gish is a writer and librarian from Halifax, where she lives with her partner. A graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio, Gish’s fiction has appeared in many journals, including the New Quarterly, the Baltimore Review, and the Dalhousie Review, and was nominated for a 2022 Pushcart Prize.

Editorial Reviews

“Gish’s prose is as sharp as a scalpel...The novel’s diaristic format lends itself perfectly to the revelations that unfold, and the ending will haunt readers long after the final page is turned.” — Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

“Unfolding entirely through Ada’s richly detailed diary entries, Gish’s atmospheric debut is a heady blend of literary fiction and gothic horror that captures one woman’s descent in the face of an oppressive society. Reminiscent of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” in its exploration of feminist themes, this slow-burn tale will also appeal to fans of Robert Eggers’ 2015 folk horror film, The Witch.” — Booklist

Grey Dog is a slow-burn feminist horror novel with a lush setting and an explosive payoff.” — Foreword Reviews

Grey Dog is a haunting historical gothic, exquisitely detailed and suffused with queer longing, violent trauma, and escalating dread. Set your first impressions aside: this is a work of overwhelming intensity that will take you in its teeth and shake you.” — David Demchuk, author of Red X

“Elliott Gish has produced a ripe, exquisitely rendered gothic in which wildernesses, both interior and natural, are dangerous, seductive, and bloody spaces. Ada Byrd is an iconic character, equal to Carmilla or Eleanor Vance.” — Kelly Link, author of White Cat, Black Dog

Grey Dog is a slow-burn horror story that unfolds so smoothly and subtly you don’t realize until it’s far too late that all the walls are on fire and the story has its hands wrapped around your throat. A thrilling ride.” — Suzette Mayr, author of The Sleeping Car Porter

Grey Dog is a bewitching tale of the horrors of spinsterhood in the early 1900s, with madness and magic threaded through every sentence. Elliott Gish transforms the multiple ways in which women were psychologically abused and viciously monitored into a gorgeous vision of folk horror, feral girl children, and wondrous monsters.” — Heather O’Neill, author of When We Lost Our Heads

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