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Summary

"[An] artful first novel, reminiscent of the tales of Poe... Gregory uses a low-key style and subtle lyricism to build an atmosphere of nightmarish horror in a tale that could become a classic." (Publishers Weekly)

"[A] first-class terror story with a relentless focus that would have made Edgar Allan Poe proud." (New York Times)

"[N]o summary can do justice to the subtlety of Gregory's first novel, with its fresh, vivid, sensual prose and its superb descriptive and evocative power. An extraordinary novel - original, compelling, brilliant." (Library Journal)

"A work of tremendous self-assurance that leaves the reader with a lingering sense of unease and announces the arrival of a considerable new talent." (British Book News)

A young family receives a welcome surprise when old Uncle Ian dies and leaves them a cottage in north Wales. For Ian's nephew and his wife, Ann, it seems a stroke of incredible good fortune, enabling them to leave their unfulfilling lives in the city for a newfound freedom in the remote seaside cottage. There's just one catch. Uncle Ian's will has a strange condition: The couple must care for his pet cormorant or forfeit the bequest. They think nothing of it at first: Uncle Ian was eccentric, and the bird is amusing in a way. But when the cormorant begins to show a violent and malevolent side, they soon find that Uncle Ian's gift may not be a blessing but a curse. 

Stephen Gregory's first novel, The Cormorant (1986), received widespread critical acclaim, winning the prestigious Somerset Maugham Award and earning comparisons to the works of Poe.

©1986 Stephen Gregory (P)2018 Valancourt Books LLC

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Old Creepy Story

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it is very well written. The author has an excellent way of describing a scene, drawing you in and immersing you into the folds of the story. But on the other hand it is a very slow tick with mostly subtle hints of supernatural undertakings which are left open to your imagination to decipher, like an old black and white haunted house film. Sometimes the story is mundane, focusing heavily on the families domesticity within the cottage, which I did not care for. However because the author is such a skilled wordsmith it keeps the story going with the expectation of greater things to come. Then there is the 'bath scene' that pops up out of nowhere. It's disturbing, unnecessary and just seems to be written in for shock factor but done in a very unsavoury way. Without giving the scene away, the parents actions/reactions before and after 'the act' didn't make sense, especially in a family setting. All in all it seemed exploitative. Like this scene, sporadic big scenes would happen and then just fissile out without narrative or after effect.

Overall I appreciated the clever writing but it is not a book I enjoyed. Although it is labeled as a horror it is more of a thriller. occasionally things would happen, none of which were scary, just creepy. I was given a copy of this book for free of my own choosing and have voluntarily left this review.

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silly fake accent ruins audiobook

can you remember that episode of friends where Ross put on a British accent to impress college students? The narrator here is doing the same thing. i couldn't listen to this. i had to buy a hard copy instead.

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okay

interesting story at first... trailed off mid way. Was freaked out and put off by the bath scene, not in a good way!
meh

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Profile Image for Bill
  • Bill
  • 21-12-19

Cormorants are horrible pets...duh.

I have listened to several audio books with Matt Godfrey as the narrator and the dude never fails to voice a gem. His cadence and tone are always spot on. Excellent.

Also, cormorants which are part of the Phalacrocoracidae family of aquatic birds are horrible pets and must never be domesticated because they are born of the devil and have a murderous nature that will devour the entire family whom it will suck into its circle of evil influence and demonic arrogance.

Duh.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Firstsnow
  • 05-11-20

Disgusting

This is well written and that is my positive comment to offer. I wish I had known about the bath scene with the mother and baby orgasm, the blood smearing on wifes body while making love scene, along with a lot of other sexualized scenes. I thought this was slightly creepy horror and it just kept veering into a weird sexual bend that was unattractive and gross. Additionally, the story doesnt have a lot of momentum, its the bird hanging around looking and acting creepy, eventually their young child is affected but I cant say I felt it was a horror story. Not appealing and I wish Audible did a better job with extreme disclaimers on books that need it. Sick of wasting credits on books that dont match the description.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jason Begly
  • 03-02-21

The Cormorant

This book was odd. I could not get into it fully. There were multiple points in the story when I stopped the playback and wondered what I had just listened to. Matt Godfrey did a fantastic job of narrating this book, but it was just not for me perhaps. Whether or not I understood what I was listening to or not is debatable, but the tub scene left me completely confused. It seems to me that from that point forward, everyone in the book lost their minds. Maybe it was just my concentration that slipped. Oh well. Strange book.