This is the first work by Lovecraft I have ever read. I enjoy Ambrose Bierce and M.R James and I was looking for something in the genre. This was a bit more science fiction but I really enjoyed it. It got off to a slow start, but picked up and has great atmosphere. Great cold, windy night read.
I got this book on a whim -- so glad that I did! There are a few parts that are a bit dry -- behavior theory and so forth -- but for the most part it is interestingly presented. The real insight here comes from Ms. Grandin's work with animals and knowledge of why they do what they do. I would recommend it to anyone who owns dogs, horses, cats or other livestock. I would love if she would write a book of training tips for horses and dogs.
OK, I know no one watches old movies anymore -- but if you have seen Robert Mitchum in 'Night of the Hunter' you pretty much have the jist of this book. I kept thinking of the film the whole time I was reading and there is something so like about them -- ex-con has everyone fooled into thinking he is a good guy but meanwhile stalking two orphan kids looking for money hidden by the childrens dead parent. The adult characters are interesting, but the children are just wooden puppets and not fleshed out. I kept waiting for a back story on some of the supporting characters but, alas, one never emerged. There is a mysterious location in the woods, but it is not explored -- it's just well -- a metaphor. Blah. I enjoyed 'Cold Mountain' more. This book kills of one of it's best characters too soon and the story goes flat at the end -- very unsatisfying. Also, I can't understand the romance between the two central adults -- the attraction seems like nothing more than two people thrown to-gether -- why does it stick? Who knows? Are we supposed to fill in the blanks?
This book has some things going for it: intriguing mystery, interestingly sketched characters, references to medieval and renaissance literature, etc... however, it is bogged down by a sappy and absurd romance between the two central characters. This treatment serves to flatten them out into 'cardboard cutouts' and make them very silly. I found myself rolling my eyes at yet another 'but I love him' or goofy description of what the main character was wearing. The character treatments are riddled with cliches: wealthy, suave French vampire (a la Anne Rice), scrappy on the outside mushy on the inside central character Dianna Bishop who needs a good man to help her to find her secret powers. I found myself thinking of her like I remember Nancy Drew from my grade school years -- she can ride a horse, write a dissertation, run a six minute mile, seduce a vampire with her magic who-who, and god knows what else? world peace? Give me a break! There are so many repeated lines about the vampire man's protective shielding of his woman, Dianna's uber, super magic, their undying love, their pet names for each other -- gag. This book should have been edited to half it's length and all the cliche sappy goo removed. Ms. Harkness does not trust her reader to get to know the characters through what they do, she hits us over the head with bombastic 'twoo-wov'. I just finished Suzanna Clarkes masterwork 'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norris' which makes this novel look like a grocery store paperback... sigh. Maybe she will correct this stuff on her 2nd novel?
This author has a big chip on her shoulder about the left-wing university culture. I had hoped for more literature and less whining about liberals. Also, the female author spends lots of time complaining about feminism and how women would be happier and better off in 'traditional' womens roles. This may be true of some women some of the time -- but is quite a large leap to make considering that in a traditional western society she would not be publishing books but having kids and washing dishes. I thought is would be a joyous exploration of literature without all the pontificating and agendas, it's not.
If you want to listen to a smug and 'look down your nose' narration of what is wrong with how many people think about English lit nowadays this is your book.
I kept waiting for the 'meat' in this book -- it is not in depth enough and written more as a coffee table book -- also the author should hire a better reader for her material.
The information in this book is interesting -- bu the author should not read his own work -- he is terrible. Reads in a dull monotone and does not impart any life to the material...
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