Longreads Guest Pick: Hilary Armstrong on 'The Horla'


If you really love a story, we want to hear from you. Share your favorite stories with Longreads—old or new, nonfiction or fiction, book or magazine feature—and then tell us why you love it. If we like it, we’ll feature you and your pick. 


Today’s guest pick comes from Hilary Armstrong, a literature student at UC Santa Barbara and Longreads intern. She’s chosen “The Horla,” the 1887 short story that you can read for free right here. Hilary writes: 

“There is nothing quite as exquisite as a fashionable French protagonist. The author’s full name sounds like eating a truffle: ‘Henri-René-Albert-Guy de Maupassant.’ I have never been to France, but this piece is, to me, a free trip there. That, mixed with subdued horror and confusion, make for a read that does not show its age.

“‘The Horla’ is Poe mixed with breezy summer days—a pleasant trip to France at its most romantic, slowly descending into Lovecraftian madness. If you are on a train, read to the middle and stop, because the ending will make you feel claustrophobic and anxious. This piece is Fantastic, meaning both the compliment and the genre, and there are few things that make me feel as classy as I do when reading fantastic literature. Enjoy.”