Friday, October 31, 2008

A Good and Happy Child

Halloween and no Sarah Palin sightings at the Library as yet. One excellent Amy Winehouse back in the technical services department. Lots of scary books available however, and I don't mean David Frum's hagiography of George W. Bush (The Right Man...). This summer I read what you might call a 'literary horror' novel, A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans. The cover caught my eye in a bookstore on Vancouver Island and the fabulous back cover blurbs brought me to the cash register. This first novel really does pull the reader into the story quickly. George Davies can't bear to touch his own newborn baby son. Forced to see a therapist, George recounts the bizarre events of his childhood. After his father's mysterious death, precocious and lonely George is visited by a frightening apparition that he comes to call "his Friend." George's family and friends aren't sure if he needs an exorcist or an asylum. The novel is more creepy and atmospheric than outright scary, but fans of The Exoricist will probably enjoy this book. The depictions of George's nightmares and the "void" (Hell?) are particularly effective. Evans crams a lot of religious history in, usually discretely, but occasionally it jars. But in all a fine Halloween read.


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