From the Pest Zone: The New York Stories
By H. P. Lovecraft
H. P. Lovecraft's "New York Exile" of 1924-26 was perhaps the unhappiest period of his entire life: living in a city whose giganticism and heterogeneity he loathed, unable to find work and forced to economize drastically on food and other necessities, and trapped in an uncongenial marriage, Lovecraft could only express his anger and despair in his work. This volume, which gathers the five stories he wrote during this period, shows how Lovecraft sought refuge by returning imaginatively to his native New England ("The Shunned House," "In the Vault"), lashing out at the many "foreigners" occupying the city ("The Horror at Red Hook"), seeking the antiquarian havens that still remained in the metropolis ("He"), or boldly confronting New York's clangor and stridency ("Cool Air").
Editors S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz supply a lengthy biographical introduction as well as exhaustive notes to each story, supplying information on their background, influences, and use of the history and topography of New York City. As a result, these five stories present an underlying unity beyond their varied themes and locales: they show how Lovecraft came to terms with America's only true megalopolis.