Days from civilisation five men are about to experience something beyond the rational.
In the snow slaked wilds where the natives fear to tread, these men search for moose but find something more terrifying and supernatural. With a rush of wind and the smell of feral nature one of their number is whisked away, leaving them wondering: Who might be next?
©2014 Felbrigg Napoleon Herriot (P)2014 Felbrigg Napoleon Herriot
I teach computing at a college an hour from home. I get through a lot of audiobooks! I consider the audiobook an art form in its own right.
Probably. I didn't have any problems with the narrator, and I've read/listened to other Blackwood stories. I read (and later listened to) The Willows, which is, I think, generally regarded a classic, but I didn't like the prose. There was another one I listened to, I forget the title, but it was set in a French town where everybody behaved like cats.
The Island of Doctor Moreau.
The scene I most *wanted to* enjoy was when the young man was alone in the woods by the lake and was aware of the awesome power of nature. I got what the author was trying to do, but don't think he succeeded. Not for me, anyway.
Disappointment, certainly. This story was recommended to me by a friend, and also by H.P. Lovecraft in his famous essay on the supernatural in literature. (I like that last sentence up to but not including the word "in" - it sounds like I was down the pub chatting to old Howard.)
The idea of being in the wilds where something unknown picks people off is a very scary one, and one that has been used many times in horror, especially in films. But the execution fell short here. I wasn't rooting for anyone, the prose was very waffly (with too much passive voice) and did far more telling than showing. Even the time frame jumped about; one sentence we're in the woods, the next it's after-the-event stuff, then it's back to the woods...
When did supernatural horror writers learn that they can leap right in, and put the reader in the position of the protagonist throughout the story? I've read a fair few other works from the 19th century, and they always seem to need some framing story - usually Victorian gentlemen drinking port and smoking cigars until someone decides to tell their story about a ghostly encounter (to be invariably mocked for believing in ghosts), or else we get a whole chapter detailing how they got hold of the ancient manuscript that is the actual story. These things can add atmosphere, but generally they're irrelevant.
I tend to enjoy some short novella type books as a change of pace and was really looking forward to listening to it, but this one was completely lame from start to finish. I kept listening thinking the story was just slow to unfold, but it never got on track. The narration was awful but honestly the story would have been difficult for any narrator to save. I would definitely not recommend this one.
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