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Monday, October 31, 2022

Reading List: "The Vessel" by Adam Nevill

It's Hallowe'en, which must mean it's time for a new Adam Nevill novel!  

In the past few years, one of the best things about this time of year has been the release of a new book by Adam Nevill.  From the cosmic horror of "Wyrd and Other Derelictions" to the rural terrors of "Cunning Folk", October always seems to bring round another Nevill-authored treat just in time for some great Hallowe'en reading.

Nevill writes in the weird fiction tradition of such greats as Lovecraft, Blackwood, Barron and Ligotti, and he certainly deserves a place among that pantheon.  His works are as imaginative and distinctive as they are dark and disturbing.  He puts in the work to avoid the tropes that mark even his own corner of the genre, instead devising horrors that are new and that arrive in unexpected ways.  

 With "The Vessel", Nevill seems to be promising us a good haunted house story, territory he's explored previously with books such as "Apartment 16".  However, as with that book, which went into insane territory by the end, I'm sure that what will be delivered here will a story that reaches well beyond the predictable form of that classic genre and will resonate in newly disquieting ways.

From the book's description:

"Struggling with money, raising a child alone and fleeing a volatile ex, Jess McMachen accepts a job caring for an elderly patient. Flo Gardner – a disturbed shut-in and invalid. But if Jess can hold this job down, she and her daughter, Izzy, can begin a new life.

Flo's vast home, Nerthus House, may resemble a stately vicarage in an idyllic village, but the labyrinthine interior is a dark, cluttered warren filled with pagan artefacts.

And Nerthus House lives in the shadow of a malevolent secret. A sinister enigma determined to reveal itself to Jess and to drive her to the end of her tether. Not only is she stricken by the malign manipulation of the Vicarage's bleak past, but mercurial Flo is soon casting a baleful influence over young Izzy. What appeared to be a routine job soon becomes a battle for Jess's sanity and the control of her child.

It's as if an ancient ritual was triggered when Jess crossed the threshold of the vicarage. A rite leading her and Izzy to a terrifying critical mass, where all will be lost or saved.:"

Give yourself the treat of some great reading this spooky season, and be sure to check out Nevill's other offerings while you're at it.  I strongly recommend "Wyrd and Other Derelictions", a personal favorite, which does things with the cosmic horror genre that no one else, as far as I know, has ever tried.

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