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Gumbywan

Randolph "Dilda" Carter

A rant about books, horror, and the weird.  I sometimes take on my love/hate relationship with goodreads and Amazon.

Currently reading

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories
Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William Shatner
Progress: 140/336 pages
Pavane
Keith Roberts
SPOILER ALERT!

Just Another Werewolf Novel?

The Nightwalker - Thomas Tessier

Whoa, I don't look at ratings or reviews until after I've read something but this book is just a little over 3 GR stars! That means most people don't get it or know what it was really about. Tessier is a tough author to categorize. He never writes the same novel twice and he rarely even crosses the same genre twice. And he's not very prolific. Because of this he has little loyal following and a lot of people build an expectation from reading just one of his novels or stories and this leads to both disappointment and a tendency for readers not to understand what is really going on. Tessier is not going to write the same book twice and he is not going to try to do the same thing twice, so forget that from the start and read the book again if you only gave it 2 or 3 stars; expect the unexpected.

What we have here is a slim little novel with an overworked horror trope. It's a pretty original lycanthropy story but certainly not the best I've ever read. If that was all it was, three stars, but oh dear reader, there is so much more going on here than in your average Stephen King novel. Tessier is leaving clues all over the place that lycanthropy is not what he wants you to really think about. He's going to not only sublimate the trope, he's going to bend the genre a little at the same time.

Why does Bobby consider Hyde Park his particular "spot" in London? Why does he pick up a copy of The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick? Why the seeming digression into a real or imagined past life as a Zombie in the Caribbean? Contrast Bobby's pure (as in uncluttered) thoughts as a lycanthrope against his unsatisfying but depraved lifestyle in his normal life. Why a seemingly digressive dream or vision right at the penultimate moment? Think about fate and coincidence and people trapped in a life they never made, either physically or mentally.

This novel is very tightly wound. Tessier is spare in his prose and every word carries meaning. Most people will pick this up and race through it thinking, "that was an okay werewolf story," but they've missed more than the half of it. Read it again slowly and look up any overt cultural references you don't know, like the Dick novel that you should have already read. Think symbolism.