Monday, October 12, 2020

The Twisted Ones

T. Kingfisher's The Twisted Ones is a novel in a genre I don't like --- maybe "haunted gothic American mid-South"? --- and it is not a good book to read alone in a quarantine. It's creepy, but the narrator's voice is reasonable and well-written. So I read it for that reason, and because it was recommended to me, and because the narrator immediately disavows the entire narration and publicly disclaims that it's going to be an unreliable-narrator sort of deal. The narrator is also a professional editor, so the tangents that she wanders off into are direct comments on the text she is writing, or on the words and punctuation she encounters in the world, and that was interesting.

There was one interesting clue early on: the use of the word "voorish" (p. 92), which I had to look up, and which led me down a rabbit-hole of references to Arthur Machen's "The White People", a horror short story which included enough clues that it was obvious that The Twisted Ones is derivative/referential and exists to reply to "The White People" in the same narrative universe.  I found this discovery comforting, as reading the summary of the short story gave me a hint about what horror might be hinted at in the book.

BUT I don't like being creeped out. I didn't like this book, but I read it to the end so that I could expurgate the tension from my brain. Otherwise it would inhabit my brain and claim brain-cycles worrying about when a haunted reanimated deer-skeleton would knock on the windows of my house late at night for unspecified creepy reasons.

Not recommended! Too creepy.

This post's theme word is numen (n), "a divine presence." "I believe them to be some kind of spirits, perhaps the numen of a place, expressed in physical form." (p. 175)

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