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review 2018-11-02 19:01
The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror by William Sloane
The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror - Stephen King,William Sloane Kennedy

I'd had this one on my shelf for a long time before being inspired to take it down for 2018's Halloween Bingo.


William Sloane (no Kennedy) inspires a lot of what-ifs. It's incredible to think that after producing these two works he never produced another long work of fiction. The two novellas have echoes of Lovecraft, but with a distinct - and more refined - flavor of their own. Lovecraft was many things, but he was never an effective prose stylist the way Sloane is in these two works.


'To Walk the Night'


After the tragic death of his friend, Berkeley Jones goes out to Jerry Lister's father's house to tell him what he believes happened. The two had witnessed the death of a professor of theirs in his lab from strange radiation, and subsequently Jerry marries the widow of the professor. There is something unusual about the Selena, however, that Berkeley can't figure out. He is even given disturbing, improbable evidence about Selena, but (mostly) keeps quiet about his suspicions in order to keep his friend. Sloane masterfully draws the relationship between Berkeley and Jerry, to my modern eye there was some homoerotic undercurrents beneath their corduroys and within their tastefully decorated bachelor apartment. Selena has come between old friends and upset the balance of their friendship, there couldn't be anything else to it could there that Berkeley resents?


Even when the reader guesses what's going on, Sloane has created a chilling science fiction novel.


'The Edge of Running Water'


This has more of the feel of Lovecraft to it - the remote New England setting, the dramatic old house situated above the water, and secrets behind a closed door.


Richard, a professor in psychology, receives a letter from an old friend - and romantic rival - Julian requesting help in a new experiment. Richard is unsure how he could help an expert in electrophysics, but as they've been estranged since the death of Julian's wife some years before.


Tragedy is hinted at, so the reader closely examines the old house Julian's converted into his lab, the sinister lab assistant Mrs. Walters, even the presence of the friendly housekeeper and Julian's wife's sister Anne, are viewed with suspicion.


This had more elements of the detective mystery story entwined with the horror and sf elements and falls flat a few times, but still a fascinating glimpse at a talent that we should have seen more from.



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review 2016-04-17 22:34
Hill (New York Review Books Classics) - Jean Giono,Paul Eprile,David Abram

April 2016 NYRB selection.

Giono's book is a rather interesting environmental fable that stays with you. The characters aren't so much characters as society. It's rather strange, moving, and powerful.

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review 2016-02-07 22:08
NYRB Book Club - Feb 2016 Selection
More Was Lost: A Memoir - Eleanor Perenyi,J.D. McClatchy

I hadn't heard of Eleanor Perenyi before this book was selected by NYRB for its Feb. selection for the book of the month.


At a very young age, Perenyi made a Hungarian Baron and goes to live on his rather improvised estate.  It is an unlikely marriage, but works until world wide events happen, in particular the outbreak of World War II.


The selling point of the book is Perenyi's tone which is gossipy and chatty.   It also captures a place and time that are long gone.

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review 2016-01-29 22:05
The Seven Madmen - Roberto Arlt,Nick Caistor,Julio Cortazar

Nope.  Sorry.   I get while the writer is well regarded.  But there is something totally off putting in this book.  Mostly because of the female characters.  Sorry book, it's me, not you.



(NYRB Book of the Month Dec 2015.  Free per offer of joining for this year).

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review 2016-01-29 22:00
This was good
Black Wings Has My Angel - Elliott Chaze,Barry Gifford

I have to admit I was warily of this book when I found out it was to be the NYRB Book of the Month for January.   Noir and I do not get along very well.  It’s just a fact of life. 

                However this book – I can see why people like it.

                Because Chaze writes a quick moving story that avoids being the in your face moral fable or women as cheap floozies.

                And what it says about how law enforcement values life is rather interesting.

                What really sells the book is Chaze’s writing.  There is an economy to the prose. There is not a wasted word, not an over blown description, no conveying of irrelevant information.  It is more of an unfolding than anything else.



(NYRB Book of the Month Jan 2016)

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