‘Wodwo’ by Mark Haddon

This is the best new story I’ve read for years – I was gripped, frightened, entranced. And I also felt better about the general crappiness of Christmas, because at least an unknown intruder hasn’t ended up leaching blood all over my carpet on the 24th December. The setting is pretty recognisable: ageing parents, their grown-up children, partners, grandchildren; excess, tension, resentment. But if you chuck a mysterious stranger, some hyper-violence and a loose reworking of Gawain and the Green Knight into the mix, then you are taken somewhere altogether unfamiliar and brilliantly, suggestively spooky.

(First published in The Pier Falls, Doubleday, 2016)