Nothing pains me more than being unable to finish reading a novel, for whatever reason. Picking books off my horror shelves and finding them less than captivating is a real bummer; I like to keep this blog updated with new reviews, but sometimes I read several novels in a row that I'm simply underwhelmed by, and motivation to finish flags. Here are the last four I couldn't finish (four! Ugh). Now, don't get me wrong, these aren't novels without merit, so I feature them here with the thought that some TMHF readers might find them worthwhile.
Dance of the Dwarfs by Geoffrey Household (1968). I'd heard plenty of good things about this novel, some from TMHF readers. It's been in my collection for five or six years; I'd bought it on a whim knowing nothing about it except it was shelved in the horror section of my local bookstore and didn't look like your average genre paperback. Subtle, literary horror? Sure! It sounded fascinating: a British doctor living in an agricultural station at the edge of the Amazon, where the locals are afraid of... what? Dwarves that dance? The novel deals with superstition, fear of the unknown, the nature of fear itself, cultural imperialism, political wranglings, and all that, and Household is a good although detached writer. Sure, there were other things going on, like said doctor constantly banging a 15-year-old Peruvian girl given to him as a gift.... but everything just took. So. Damn. Long. To. Happen. Guess that's what I get for trusting The New Yorker about horror.
Dark Twilight by Joseph A. Citro (1991) Not terribly written--it has pages of respectable critical blurbs--but not terribly interesting either. Citro is an expert on the legends and lore of Vermont, but so what? I have no especial interest in cryptozoology or any kind of "monster hunter" scenario, just as I have no interest in writers who take real life "psychic" phenomena or other pseudoscientific nonsense and try to turn it into a horror story. I'm a hardline nonbeliever and atheist in the HPL tradition and, like him, I'd rather writers make up their horrors entirely (or, of course, swipe someone else's!). That said, there was too much folkloric exposition from an old professor and too little folkloric horror action so I gave up halfway through.
"Master Thespian" SNL skits--the prose simply shouts "Wrrriting! Brrrilliant!" at me, and who likes to be shouted at, no matter how pretty the words?
Again, these titles are simply not to my taste, but I don't consider them, you know, not good.--some of you might like 'em just fine. Let me know what I'm missing, huh? Thanks.