Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Old Wives' Tale



The Old Wives' Tale
by Arnold Bennett
read: 2015
Modern Library #87, Guardian 1000 Novels

Oh my God! We are totally like the girls in The Old Wives' Tale! You are such a Constance, and I am such a Sophia!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Occultation



Occultation
by Laird Barron
read: 2015

This is a creepy collection of stories to read, having moved into an old house and having a three-year that has nightmares every night. The final tale, "Six Six Six," about a couple that moves into a house that is literally and figuratively haunted, was especially a bad choice for me right now.

All of these stories are creepy, but "Strappado" and "Lagerst├Ątte" are unusual for Barron in that they may not even be metaphysical.

Almost all of these stories have love as a backdrop. In "The Broadsword" and "Six Six Six," the lack of trust between romantic partners becomes an issue. Lack of trust is even more dramatic in "--30--," where two ex-lovers find themselves at each other's throats while in isolation on cursed land. "The Forest" is about terrible forces that doom all of humanity, but it's also about rediscovering lost love. In "Catch Hell," the occult elements are just a backdrop for a marriage torn asunder by the death of a child.

The past returning also shows up again and again. The protagonists of "Mysterium Tremendum" and "The Broadsword" are each haunted by a death witnessed years ago. The heroines of "Lagerst├Ątte" and "Catch Hell" deal with grief over dead relatives. In "Six Six Six" the husband inherits his Satanic family homestead and returns to a life he believed left behind.