Tuesday, March 28, 2017

And the Trees Crept In

Rot. Decay. Death.

This book has them all in abundance.

Two girls who have run away from their abusive home in London arrive at their aunt's decrepit house, which is painted the color of blood. Said crazy aunt warns the girls about the Creeper Man, who lives in the woods, and as the years pass, the forest slowly encroaches on the house. Enveloping it. Devouring it.

The bottom floor rots away. Husks of dead insects cover the upper floor like a carpet. They are slowly starving to death, unable to leave the grounds to get food, and yet whenever they manage to get something in their bellies, it makes them sick. Their teeth rot, and fall out one by one.

This book is a great example of horror imagery and also a great example of the horror engine. Horror is supposed to make us uncomfortable. It's gross, and full of taboos and forces us to see how cruel and terrible and disgusting humanity and nature can really be. Dawn Kurtagich's writing style makes the reader uncomfortable because of its unconventionality., and the intentional vagueness of some of the references.

For example, we're given very little description of the Creeper Man. It would've been very tempting for the author/publisher to insert some kind of photo representation as a visual aide, but not knowing what he looks like exactly is scarier because it leaves it up to the reader's imagination to construct something. I imagine he looks like Slender Man, the creepypasta phenomenon:

Also, the narrator, the elder girl Silla, seems to be either talking to herself, or someone unnamed. Or maybe someone unnamed is talking to her:

"Cath is crazy. Why should I listen to her? [SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS PLACE.] When [IF] Gowan comes back [YOU WILL DIE]."

There are ALOT of sentences like that in the book, and we don't know who the speaker of the all-caps words is.
And there's some kind of "flesh ball" that keeps rolling down the hallways and stairs. Silla doesn't describe it or explain it, just says that it sounds like a ball is bouncing, but a heavy one, like a ball made of flesh. And then it's pretty much up to us to imagine it.

Some readers might find this book frustrating because very little is described in detail (except the trees) and almost nothing is explained, but for a reader who is okay not knowing everything, there's plenty of horror to behold.

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