Two books, very unalike, and yet sharing one general darkness. Death, spoken and unspoken, biogenic and anthropogenic. Non-fiction, and fiction. Come sit and have tea with me, won’t you? The sugar’s right there.
“Horror,” Laura Miller says in the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of The Haunting of Hill House, “turns on the dissolution of boundaries […] between the outside of the body and everything that ought to stay inside.” Maybe the way horror lurks in liminal spaces, only rarely coming right out in the open, has something to do with how much I enjoy the genre. And The Haunting of Hill House serves masterfully as our guide to those cracked and uncertain places.
I really wanted to like this one more than I did. After all, it’s a book about (as the subtitle says) how and why we age, and as I’ll be fifty at the end of June it’s a topic that doesn’t exactly weigh on my mind, but does make me curious. Run-on sentence, hoy. Armstrong’s book looks at a great many of the physical processes behind aging (the way our cells tick down moment by moment until they die), the ways people have tried to avoid aging (the Breatharians make an appearance and I just can’t with that particular group), […]
This book has many of the things I love: Steampunk, electricity, Spring-heeled Jack, werewolves, a mystery, time-travel affecting the present, and the implication of liminal space. It also has a glowing recommendation from Michael Moorcock on the back. Note to self: Do not buy any other book Michael Moorcock likes.
I received this book in 2015. The fact that I haven’t read it until now says far more about the depth of my “to be read” pile than it does the quality of this novel. I promise you that.
“It’s no good hating them. They can’t feel it, and it will only make you bitter.” — p. unknown
The last two-book review I wrote was compare and contrast, because the material in each book related to the other book. This time, not so much: one is non-fiction, and one is fiction, and without performing some mental calisthenics at a level I’m not willing to do right now I don’t think I could write a unified review.
As with so many other things, I’m reviewing a thing long after it got popular, and yet this time, at least, I’m managing to be at least a little bit on-trend, so go me?