Peter Straub, whose literary novels of horror, mystery and the supernatural placed him at the top of the horror charts in the 1970s and ’80s, died along with writers such as Ira Levine and Anne Rice and his close friend and collaborator Stephen King. Sunday in Manhattan. He was 79 years old.
His wife, Susan Straub, said the death at New York Presbyterian Hospital resulted from complications after a hip fracture.
Mr. Straub was a master of this genre and a concerned operator. Novels such as “Julia” (1975) and “Ghost Story” (1979) helped revive a field that was groaning under the brunt, despite insisting that his work crossed ratings and that he wrote the way he wanted, only to watch readers and critics classify him as a horror novelist.
Not that he can complain about what critics and readers think. Beginning with his third novel “Julia,” which is about a woman haunted by a spirit whose dead daughter may or may not be, Mr. Straub has won praise from reviewers and topped bestseller lists with a kind of story that had previously been marginalized as semi-literary—things from magazines. small.
“He was a unique writer in many ways,” King said in a phone interview. He was not only a literary writer with a poetic sensibility, but also well-read. And that was a wonderful thing. He was a modern writer, equal to Philip Roth, though he wrote about wonderful things.”
Mr. Straub’s books were published in due course. Beginning with Mr. Levine’s novel Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist (1971), horror fiction has become mainstream. Mr. King’s first novel, “Carrie”, appeared in 1974, a year before “Julia”; Ms. Rice’s debut titled “Interview with the Vampire” appeared in 1976.
A fan of William James and John Ashbery—he had published several books of poetry before turning to novels—Mr. Straub had not originally aspired to write about metaphysics; In fact, he only paid attention to him after two major novels went bankrupt.
“‘Julia’ was a novel that involved what turned out to be a ghost, so it was a horror novel,” he told The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in 1993. “I didn’t know much about the field at the time. I just wanted to write a novel that would make money so I wouldn’t have to get Job. With the first sentence, I felt such a huge relief. I felt like I was right at home.”
With his wife, he is survived by his daughter, novelist Emma Straub. His son Benjamin. and three grandchildren.
A full obituary will appear shortly.
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