The other day Patti Abbott asked a question on her blog that has kept me mulling over the idea of what is dark fiction. She asked "What is the darkest book you've ever read?". There was a great variety of answers covering several genres.
When thinking about what my choices would be I thought about the novel "No Human Involved" by Barbara Seranella. There was a sadness in the book that made me feel sorry for the main character and the life that she'd been forced to live. The other book is one that I'm currently rereading, "Beach Music" by Pat Conroy. And here, too, there's an overwhelming sense of sadness in the book. For me, these two book are dark fiction.
Some readers might consider dark fiction to be something psychologically horrifying or pages of victims soaked in blood. Even fantasy can be dark. I recently read "Sandman Slim" by Richard Kadrey and found that very dark indeed.
So I guess I'm wondering what exactly makes a story dark? Is it the dark feelings that create a sadness in the reader or is it just an atmosphere you drop the reader into (I read a lot of Gothics and they always stirred a feeling of dread inside me.)?
I expect every reader has a different idea of what is dark and why. What makes a story dark for you?