"The stories collected here are by turns confident, brutal, and breathtaking... must-read horror" The New York Times
A beautifully crafted, devastating short fiction collection from the Bram Stoker Awards® finalist and author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke. Includes an introduction from acclaimed bestselling author Chuck Wendig.
Eight stories of literary dark fiction from a master storyteller. Exploring the shadow side of love, these are tales of grief, obsession, control. Intricate examinations of trauma and tragedy in raw, poetic prose. In these narratives, a woman imagines horrific scenarios whilst caring for her infant niece; on-line posts chronicle a cancer diagnosis; a couple in the park with their small child encounter a stranger with horrific consequences; a toxic relationship reaches a terrifying resolution…
Originally published under the title The Strange Thing We Become and Other Dark Tales, this is a much-praised collection of deeply unsettling, painfully dark tales.
About the Author
Eric LaRocca (he/they) is the author of several works of horror and dark fiction including the viral sensation Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke. A lover of luxury fashion and an admirer of European musical theatre, Eric can often be found roaming the streets of his home city, Boston, MA, for inspiration. For more information, please follow @hystericteeth on Twitter/Instagram or visit ericlarocca.com.
Praise for The Trees Grew Because I Bled There: Collected Stories
"The stories collected here are by turns confident, brutal, and breathtaking... must-read horror"
The New York Times
“These stories are body horror at its best—but they also enter the realms of dark relationships, intrusions that change our lives forever, obviously not for the best, the fear of illness, of taking care, of love, of obsession, of attachment. They are nightmarish and they are deeply human. I loved them and also my jaw dropped at how daring they are, how far they go. Eric LaRocca is not only good: there’s courage in his literature.”
Mariana Enriquez, author of The Dangers of Smoking in Bed
“The Trees Grew Because I Bled There holds you in thrall until the final transgressive act. Here is a collection of stories at once sophisticated and deeply unsettling, each bolder and more spellbinding—and more revelatory—than the last. Eric LaRocca is one of the horror genre’s most vital voices.”
Andy Davidson, author of The Hollow Kind
“With The Trees Grew Because I Bled There, Eric LaRocca has woven a tapestry of some of the grimmest and most unsettling stories I have read in a long time, though he does so with a poet’s touch and a surgeon’s steady hand. Terrifying, poignant, and assured, this collection has opened up a wound only to climb inside and fester. Highly recommended.”
Ronald Malfi, author of Come With Me
“Eric LaRocca’s The Trees Grew Because I Bled There is a staggering, in-depth study of the restless ghosts that haunt the human heart. The stories within this book are emotionally violent, psychologically bruising. What impresses me most is how LaRocca uses carnage of the flesh as a means for exposing the howling spirit trapped within each one of us, crucified to the page for our pleasure.”
Philip Fracassi, author of A Child Alone with Strangers
“This collection is sublime grounded horror. These stories could be happening in your neighborhood or in the lives of one of your friends, which makes it even more disturbing. Every story is unique in the way it builds aching tension. I read it in one day. Definitely a must read.”
V. Castro, author of The Queen of the Cicadas and The Haunting of Alejandra
“A powerful collection of eight startling stories. Highly recommended.”
Ellen Datlow, editor of the annual series The Best Horror of the Year
"LaRocca’s sharp, incisive writing shines a bright light on the disgust, pain, and trauma wriggling under conventional behavior and polite speech... deeply unsettling, beautifully crafted, and difficult to put down once it’s started."
Booklist, starred review
"LaRocca displays his signature style of rendering grotesque and brutal subject matter in exquisite prose... visceral depictions of unhinged psyches and unflinching body horror throughout will please LaRocca’s fans—and ought to earn him some new ones." Publishers Weekly
“Magnificent stories that explore the darkest depths of the human soul. Lyrical, heartbreaking, devastating—this is literary horror at its finest.” Tim Waggoner, author of Your Turn to Suffer
“Sometimes you meet someone and within a few minutes you know you're going to be the best of friends. That's how I felt about this book within a few sentences. For such a slim volume it packs a huge punch, touching on Ray Bradbury and Roald Dahl, but completely its own. I felt a pain in my chest during some of the stories, a visceral anxiety to some of the writing. Eric LaRocca is truly original, truly subversive, and truly talented.”
Priya Sharma, author of Ormeshadow
“Something is rotten at the heart of LaRocca’s literary world. An unease, a disquiet, a world-spanning cancer. Grief and horror unfold in tandem in one of the most original and startling collections I’ve read in a long while. The Trees Grew Because I Bled There is a dark elegy and not one to be taken lightly. Don’t miss it.”
John Hornor Jacobs, author of A Lush and Seething Hell
“Eric LaRocca is a master of the short story form.”
One of FFA's Most Anticipated Titles of 2023