Book Reviews, Novels

M.R. Carey’s Fellside (2016)

A different beast than M.R. Carey’s previous novel — the wonderful 2014 zombie-drama, the Girl with All the Gifts — Fellside takes a far more introspective and personal direction. Advertised as a ghost story, the horror of Fellside increasingly bleeds into the background, leaving room for a story of crushing guilt, identity, empathy — and an exposé on privatized prisons.

Jess Moulson’s life climaxes in a loss of control; as heroin addiction and an abusive, enabling partner extend themselves too far, she loses herself in an act of violence while overdosing. She sets fire to all the memories she has of her partner in hopes of removing the negative influences on her life, but the fire immediately spreads to the house as she passes out amidst the flames. Her partner escapes without much harm, but she’s severely disfigured from the accident, and a young boy who lived upstairs is dead of smoke inhalation.

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Book Reviews, Novels

Jonathan Carroll’s Voice of Our Shadow (1983), as recommended by Neil Gaiman

Voice of Our Shadow is a weird novel. It’s compelling, creepy, lame, uncomfortable; it leaves you wondering if it’s going anywhere or just dilly-dallying inside an unlikable Joseph Lennox’s head.

Joe is a horrible, selfish and self-obsessed brat of a narrator — but his voice is also utterly uncomfortable precisely because, in being horrible, he’s toeing a line that most of us have difficulty with. E.g., he uses friends for personal gain, all the while convincing himself and his audience that he’s playing the Nice Guy, that maybe he’s being unjustly victimized.

A lot of this novel’s horror comes from that: He’s just a disgusting personality. Too human and too me-and-you.

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