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Summary

Prepare to lose yourself in the heady, mythical expanse of The Vorrh.

In B. Catling's twisting, poetic narrative, Bakelite robots lie broken - their hard shells cracked by human desire - and an inquisitive Cyclops waits for his keeper and guardian, growing in all directions.

Beyond the colonial city of Essenwald lies The Vorrh, the forest which sucks souls and wipes minds. There, a writer heads out on a giddy mission to experience otherness, fallen angels observe humanity from afar, and two hunters - one carrying a bow carved from his lover, the other a charmed Lee-Enfield rifle - fight to the end.

Thousands of miles away, famed photographer Eadweard Muybridge attempts to capture the ultimate truth, as rifle heiress Sarah Winchester erects a house to protect her from the spirits of her gun's victims.

In the tradition of China Miéville, Michael Moorcock and Alasdair Gray, B. Catling's The Vorrh is literary dark fantasy which wilfully ignores boundaries, crossing over into surrealism, magic-realism, horror and steampunk.

©2015 Brian Catling (P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

Critic reviews

"There are not many books that rearrange the molecules of your being, turning your eyes inside out. The Vorrh, this saturnine post-traumatic testament, is one of them. A work of genius." (Iain Sinclair)
"Brian Catling is simply a genius. His writing is so extraordinary it hurts, it makes me realize how little imagination I have." (Terry Gilliam)
"In Brian Catling's phosphorescent masterpiece The Vorrh we have one of the most original and stunning works of fantasy that has ever been my privilege to read, a brilliant and sustained piece of invention which establishes a benchmark not just for imaginative writing but for the human imagination in itself. After investigating other worlds of fantasy, The Vorrh is like a first experience of the ocean. Read this book, and marvel." (Alan Moore)
"When even the warts of a novel are winning, it s hard to misunderstand that you have something special on your hands, and The Vorrh is absolutely that. Equal parts dark fantasy and surrealist dream, it is inescapably dense, and unrelentingly intense. Shelve it shoulder to shoulder with 2012s other most notable novels, be they of the genre or not, then consider carefully which stands lacking in comparison." (Tor.com)

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What listeners say about The Vorrh

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  • 10-01-16

Not for the faint-hearted

This is a fantastic audiobook. Alan corduner's performance is impressive, the musical interludes complement the novel's atmosphere, andd Alan Moore's afterword sets Catling's work in literary and artistic contexts that help the reader make sense of their encounter with the novel. Let the buyer beware: explicit content abounds here, weird sex and graphic violence. Don't buy this book if you're of a squeamish disposition, but if you're not perturbed by all things weird, go buy and read it immediately. You won't regret it!

12 people found this helpful

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A truly singular piece of fantasy

This book blew me away. I love fantasy, and this is a fantasy book, but it pays no attention to what a fantasy book "should" be like. It is visceral, psychadelic, a mix of very human, very real emotions, and the jarring unfathomable vorrh. My only warning is this book does not gather pace in building a world, it really takes it's time to flesh everything out. It's a book that demands your attention, if your mind wanders you will miss important details. Give yourself some time and really read/listen to it.

4 people found this helpful

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Strange

The way this story has been read is excellent. Some of the content is beautiful and touchingly written whilst some of it is, what I can only call, base! Other parts are ordinary or confusing, leaving me feeling like this piece has been written by several different people. It is a fantasy of course, so perhaps that's ok, who knows!

4 people found this helpful

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Nothing like this

This book should be required reading for all fantasy enthusiasts. Immediately original, but feels like it’s existed forever.

1 person found this helpful

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The most incredible use of language.

What an incredible book. Language is used to describe in way I have never encountered - like the author sees things in a different way. He creates images through words in a marvellous way. A totally captivating book.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A book unlike any other.

A book unlike any other, the Vorrh is a staggering achievement. Horrific at times, beautiful at others, but always utterly intriguing and enigmatic. The tapestries that Catling can weave with words are magnificent and completely tangible, having a presence and solidity that is both entirely surreal and yet completely believable.

I cannot recommend this highly enough.

2 people found this helpful

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Try it.. you might like it!

I don't write reviews normally unless compelled to, and the Vorrh has succeeded in compelling me to!

I gave the story 4 stars only because I finished the book with as many questions as I started. But maybe that's a good thing? Be prepared for an epic story of imagining and scope and completely original. For that reason alone it's worth a credit! Don't be put off by the nay sayers on here, I'm sure the Vorrh won't be to everyones taste but it's worth a listen.. I mean that! If you like tales of the wierd, the paranormal, a touch of fantasy, and a dash of steampunk, you'll be in the right frame of mind to listen to the Vorrh. Safe journey!

3 people found this helpful

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Just like the Vorrh itself

Just like the Vorhh itself, once you start the book you'll never leave it. Too much ambiguity, and surprisingly little characterisation of the titular forest. Some interesting ideas spotted here and there, but almost tries to hard to be novel and interesting to the point of vagueness and mediocrity.

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Confusing changes of time place and people

I got to chapter 3 before I gave up. I love fantastical novels but I couldn't keep up with the apparent change of viewpoint and place or time. perhaps it becomes clear later. I loved the writing style and narration but guess I love a story and couldn't work out where this was going

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Hoped for more

Interesting effort. Something quite different. I found myself hypnotised at first by the beautiful prose and the strangeness of the story. Unfortunately I felt that although it had some good points and the concept was good by the end I was bored and found the end quite a let down. I don't think I will be getting the rest of the trilogy but you never know. if someone can convince me to listen on and that there is some point to the end of the trilogy then maybe I will. But I get the feeling it's all about the experiment and experience of this book rather than where it goes. I like a bit more than show.