needs more demons?

irreverent opinions on books

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Entries from Oct 2007

Robert Aickman: Cold Hand in Mine

31 Oct 2007 · 2 Comments

Let’s try to squeeze in one more spooky book while it’s seasonal…
My friend Tim of the Doubtful Palace has several times compared Aickman to Kelly Link. My first brush with Aickman was disappointing, I think because my expectations were mis-calibrated. I found few specific points of similarity between the two writers: Aickman is implicitly patriarchal [...]

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Tags: a-author · c-title · fantasy

Karen Novak: Five Mile House

21 Oct 2007 · No Comments

Karen Novak’s Five Mile House is unambiguously a ghost story, even a haunted house story — one of the narrative voices belongs to a ghost, and provides the novel with its arresting opening sentences:
I am Eleanor, and I, like this house, am haunted. I died when I fell from this tower, that window. It [...]

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Tags: f-title · fantasy · n-author · suspense

John Harwood: The Ghost Writer

11 Oct 2007 · No Comments

Harwood’s The Ghost Writer is a tour-de-force of the “is it a haint, or ain’t it” style of ghost(?) story, and simultaneously an impressive feat of post-modern multi-level narrative construction. Gerard Freeman keeps finding ghost stories — both whole and as tantalizing fragments — written by a mysterious relative, which the reader gets to absorb [...]

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Tags: g-title · h-author · horror

Sean Stewart: Perfect Circle

11 Oct 2007 · No Comments

I’ve been thinking about this novel for months, and I still can’t figure out out how it feels so fresh and original, even though it’s built from such familiar components. Will Kennedy is a slightly off-the-rails underachiever who could have a bit part in almost any Richard Linklater movie without sticking out. He has the [...]

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Tags: fantasy · horror · p-title · s-author

Crystal Zevon: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

11 Oct 2007 · No Comments

Crystal Zevon’s biography of perennially misunderstood and mis-marketed songwriter Warren Zevon takes a holographic approach to the musician’s life (and death). Crystal Zevon (a former wife) provides chunks of bridging text, but the book consists mostly of brief chronologically-arranged snippets from an impressive array of Zevon’s family, friends, lovers, collaborators, and (most importantly) excerpts from [...]

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Tags: biography · i-title · rock · z-author

Glen Matlock: I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol

11 Oct 2007 · 1 Comment

I’ve whined recently about how the London punk scene of ‘76-77 gets such a disproportionate share of media attention. So why’d I pick up Matlock’s book? Because his is one of the first-person perspectives I haven’t seen. Lydon’s and McLaren’s versions are amply documented. But Matlock’s part in the Pistols actually ends when Sid Vicious [...]

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Tags: autobiography · i-title · m-author · punk