|And the tea cozy was of no human shape
||[Sep. 30., 2016|11:51 am]
Credit to nihilistic_kid for introducing me to a new author. My interest in Lovecraft and the Mythos is strictly dilettantish; it probably wouldn't exist at all if not for my longstanding association with princeofcairo (though once those spores were planted, Nuphy did what he could to stimulate their germination). I've read maybe two dozen tales from Lovecraft, one volume of Machen, plus a smattering of related stories (the one I remember best being Long's The Hounds of Tindalos). There's something vaguely familiar to the Severn Valley, but I don't recall having any idea who Ramsey Campbell was before Nick namechecked him in a recent post promoting his new novel.
It seems the only one of Campbell's works we have on site is his first collection of tales, The inhabitant of the lake and other unwelcome tenants. It seemed promising and this is just the weather--chilly, grey, and wet--for English horror in a traditional vein. So I checked out the volume and polished it off in about two days. (Admittedly, spending the better part of one of those days in tiny quiet room at the hospital with monshu helped quite a bit.) It could fairly be called top-quality pastiche. However, it did remind me that the real strength of weird fiction is not the immediate payoff. It's later, when minor events and phenomena in your surroundings which would have passed unnoticed before give you a lingering sense of unease.
This morning, for instance, I decided to entre through the historical portion of the complex where I work. (I joke that it gives me a few moments to enjoy the fantasy that I work in a far more beautiful building than I do.) My coworker at the reception desk was wearing a jacket, and I remarked on this. "It's chilly here. There's a breeze that you can only feel if you're sitting right here." "Don't tell me about such things when I've just been reading Lovecraftian fiction!" I responded. Only minutes earlier, the shuttle had passed a row of older buildings on the south end of town, one of which (and old warehouse) that's been semi-derelict for ages, and I found myself repressing an urge to speculate about what sorts of questionable goings-on might pass unnoticed behind those respectable aged storefronts.
It was also a pleasure, after inexplicably spending a whole month on a fairly simply novel, to polish off a book of fiction so quickly. I'm down to my last 60 pages or so of The Maias, which I picked up again about a month ago, and slightly more than that of Heart is a lonely hunter. I'm finally getting some payoff from the McCullers, but I'm not really in any hurry to finish it. I thought having the Dreadful Twist in Eça de Queiroz' big fat novel spoilered (Thanks for that, anonymous Wikipedia nitwit!) would kill my enthusiasm, but oddly it didn't. Instead it allowed me to appreciate how deftly he foreshadows it. It also left me completely unprepared for the Somewhat Less Dreadful Twist which precedes it, setting the stage.
As for what I'll read after that, I went on something of a book-buying binge recently so I've got lots of new options. If Haarteppichknupfer arrives tomorrow (as it's scheduled to), I'll probably start that. Or perhaps I should repay a debt and see how quickly I am Providence could get her.