Gifts For the One Who Comes After

Gifts for the One Who Comes After

Author: Helen Marshall
Genres: Collection, Dark Fantasy, Horror
Publisher: ChiZine Publications
Publication Year: 2014

Ghost thumbs. Microscopic dogs. One very sad can of tomato soup . . . Helen Marshall’s second collection offers a series of twisted surrealities that explore the legacies we pass on to our children. A son seeks to reconnect with his father through a telescope that sees into the past. A young girl discovers what lies on the other side of her mother’s bellybutton. Death’s wife prepares for a very special funeral. In Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Marshall delivers seventeen tales of love and loss that cement her as a powerful voice in dark fantasy and the New Weird. Dazzling, disturbing, and deeply moving.




World Fantasy Award for Best Collection (Winner)
Shirley Jackson Award for Best Collection (Winner)
British Fantasy Award for Best Collection (Short-list)
Bram Stoker AWard for Best Collection (Short-list)
Aurora Award for Best Collection (Short-list)
Sunburst Award (Long-list)
Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize (Long-list)
Edge Hill Short Story Prize (Long-list)

The National Post

“Marshall is a master at 
bizarre, myth-infused scenarios that play on a reader’s subconscious in ways creepy and oddly pleasurable.”

What the Critics are Saying

  • ". . . As she proved in her 2012 debut, Hair Side, Flesh Side, Marshall is a master at 
bizarre, myth-infused scenarios that play on a reader’s subconscious in ways creepy and oddly pleasurable. Gifts For The One Who Comes After extends this practice with a suite of tales that employ tropes borrowed from Gothic and Grand Guignol traditions, viewing quotidian reality through a distorted lens that exaggerates angles and shadows, making the real unreal or, at the very least, surreal."
    The National PostRead the Review
  • "Marshall exhibits a bracing refusal to play to expectations, taking left turns where others would travel a straight line. It’s one thing to make the strange appear familiar; Marshall’s true gift lies in the opposite direction, where what was familiar is warped beyond recognition. “Magic is about waiting,” Marshall writes, “it’s about letting the bad things happen. It’s about letting the children pass on to adults, and the mothers grieve, and the fathers lose their way, or find it.” A quirky interpretation of the term, but this marvellously unnerving collection lends credence to the definition. Gifts For The One Who Comes After, saturated with tales of omens and curses, is a gift for the one who comes looking."
    Quill & Quire, starred reviewRead the Review
  • "The acknowledgements page of Helen Marshall’s Gifts For The One Who Comes After reads like a who’s-who of contemporary genre authors and editors. Among her colleagues, friends, and early readers she counts Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, Ellen Datlow, Michael Kelly, Stephen Graham Jones, Simon Stranzas and a great many others. What this list shows is a confirmation of why I’ve heard Helen Marshall’s name before: she is growing an impressive literary reputation. This, her second short story collection, comes hot off the heels of her first, Hair Side, Flesh Side, which was published in 2012 to a positive critical response. If nothing else, this newest book serves as proof that such a glowing reputation is well deserved."
    The Winnipeg Free PressRead the Review
  • "Helen Marshall is one of my favorite living writers. Her elegant, grotesque stories are best encountered like this, gathered together in a book and in conversation with each other; only then can you appreciate the staggering variety of her imagination. What unifies them, and what elevates them from being merely great fantasy to being literature, is the ache of human experience that informs them all: the yearning; the heartbreak; the desperate, misinformed love. This is life, in all its beauty and sorrow."
    Nathan Ballingrudaward-winning author of North American Lake Monsters
  • "Gifts For The One Who Comes After should single out Marshall as one of the most accomplished writers of the fantastic being published today, an exceptional collection likely to be among the best 2014 has to offer."
  • "Gifts for the One Who Comes After is in turns chilling, heart-wrenching and uplifting. Marshall has a way with words that makes even the most peculiar seem possible, and the stories here are each so layered with character and meaning, they are like perfect, condensed novels."
    Karron Warrenaward-winning author of Through Splintered Walls