The Hollow Places

Where's this book been?
by T. Kingfisher | Horror |
ISBN: 9781534451124 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 1/7/2022
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, January 7, 2022
I got this softcover at Toadstool Books in Peterborough NH, for another release copy. It's by T. Kingfisher, a pseudonym for Ursula Vernon (whose graphic novel Digger I loved), and it's another of her spins on classic horror stories, in the way that The Twisted Ones riffed on Machen's "The White People". [Other works of the author's that I especially like - the "Dragonbreath" children's series (see Lair of the Bat Monster), and the very adult and poignant mythology-based Jackalope Wives and Other Stories.]

This one's a dandy story, with appealing protagonists Kara (newly-divorced and now taking shelter in her uncle's museum of curiosities) and Simon (the barrista next door, with a fabulous if eccentric fashion sense and pretty awesome loyalty - and the secret of youth: "Simon had to be nearly forty, if not older, but he looked about eighteen. Somewhere, a portrait was probably aging for him."), as they discover a hole-to-otherwhere in the walls of the museum.

The between-the-worlds place here seems to be patterned very strongly on Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows", so it's a water-and-small-islets-with-willows setting - plus concrete and metal bunkers on some of the islets, suggesting that the area was colonized at one time. And some of the bunkers aren't empty {shudder}. The landscape seems to shift at times, and is so similar in appearance that it's all too easy to get lost - and as if that weren't unnerving enough, there are invisible presences that sometimes drift through the region, devouring some living things and... playing with others. The catchphrase there is "Pray they are hungry"...

There are tantalizing hints (and a few brutally obvious revelations) as to what happened to other parties that ventured there, and some of this helps our heroes (while some bits give them nightmares).

There's plenty of horror here, but also a lot of charm and even humor - a mix that Kingfisher is deft at. (One bit that made me laugh out loud: Kara's ex keeps phoning her to express concern, no idea if he's trying to annoy her or is just guilty about the breakup and thinks she would appreciate some coddling. But she's impatient of this from the outset, and once she starts fretting about the willow-world she can't spare a thought for Mark or his issues, so the conversations are delightfully distracted on her part and increasingly frustrated on his.)

Without giving spoilers I can't go into detail, but I will say that I enjoyed the interactions of Kara and Simon as they tried to cope with the increasingly bizarre events surrounding the opening-into-willow-land, and found the climactic battle thoroughly awesome.

[There's a TV Tropes page on the novel, but beware of spoilers.]

Released 2 yrs ago (1/14/2022 UTC) at Little Free Library Merriam Ave #123569 in Leominster, Massachusetts USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Guidelines for safely visiting and stocking Little Free Libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the LFL site here.

I left this book in the Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in MA here.]

*** Released for the 2022 Clean Start for the New Year challenge, for the embedded "Ace" in the title. ***

Journal Entry 3 by freezone at Leominster, Massachusetts USA on Monday, March 14, 2022
Not sure if I'm a "horror fan" as they recommend on the cover, but maybe....

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