Comparative Anatomy: The Best of Stephen Gallagher

Stephen Gallagher

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Limited Edition

Dust jacket illustration by Christopher Shy.
Introduction by Steven Volk.

“Magic always stops at midnight,” says the doomed narrator in the title story of Stephen Gallagher’s career-spanning collection, Comparative Anatomy, but while that may be true, the reader will find no end to the magic in these thirty astonishing tales by one of Britain’s most distinguished writers.

From the inimitable postwar melancholy of a forlorn ghost bound to the house in which it died in “Twisted Hazel,” and a common man’s misguided attempt to temper grief in “Shepherds’ Business,” to the unsettling demands of an overbearing family desperate to reap the rewards of vicarious fame in “Little Dead Girl Singing” and the collision of disparate personalities among wicked children and bizarre religion in “The Butterfly Garden,” Comparative Anatomy is as much a meditation on what it means to be alive as it is an exploration into what may await us when we die. 

Herein you’ll find stories that explore the very nature of ghosts and how often it is us, and not those we’ve lost, who do the haunting, as the lines blur between the paranormal and the pathological, and all manner of characters from time travelers to clairvoyants, priests to serial killers, and thieves to ventriloquists, find their souls laid bare by spectral encounters and the sinister desires of man’s own fractured psyche to know what comes next. 

Comparative Anatomy includes two original tales, a novelette, “The Backtrack,” and a short story, “Live from the Morgue,” written especially for a collection by an author at the height of his power as one of the premier dark fantasists of his generation. 

Table of Contents

  • Introduction by Steven Volk
  • Twisted Hazel
  • The Back of his Hand
  • Little Angels
  • Restraint
  • The Box
  • Comparative Anatomy
  • Blame the French
  • Cheeky Boy (Heroes and Villains)
  • The Price
  • Eels
  • To Dance by the Light of the Moon
  • The Beautiful Feast of the Valley
  • One Dove
  • The Visitors’ Book
  • In Gethsemane
  • Life Line
  • Not Here, Not Now
  • The Plot
  • O, Virginia
  • Misadventure
  • Little Dead Girl Singing
  • Doctor Hood
  • My Repeater
  • The Governess
  • Magpie
  • The Boy Who Talked to the Animals
  • The Backtrack
  • Live from the Morgue
  • Shepherds’ Business
  • The Butterfly Garden

Limited: 1000 signed numbered hardcover copies 

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Publisher Subterranean Press