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By C. Bland on 01-03-15
Laird Barron is the future of horror
What did you love best about Occultation and Other Stories?
Each of Barron's stories is a wonderful microcosm populated by believable, complex characters with rich back-stories. The horror and suspense work so well because we actually care about the people, we feel that they have lives, and we watch with them in fascination and horror as their world slowly and inexorably unravels; revealing the dark secret at the heart of things..
Who was your favorite character and why?
It's hard to pick just one, but I really liked the protagonist of "The Lagerstatte". In a story that's essentially about grief, it's all too easy to write a character that comes off as self-pitying or whiny, so I was pleasantly surprised that despite the story's overall bleak tone, the main character (who is a grieving widow) comes off as both strong and quite funny in places. It is even more surprising when you consider Barron's penchant for writing stories populated by "Manley Men" that he writes sympathetic and believable female characters, and it really illustrates his versatility as a writer.
What does David Drummond bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Mr. Drummond does an excellent job bringing the stories to life, he conveys the terror, confusion, anger, helplessness, and exasperation of the characters without becoming cartoonish or melodramatic. I did feel that some of the voices he does in "The Broadswords" were a little over the top, but overall I loved his narration and I hope he continues to narrate Barron's works.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Absolutely. In fact, I wanted to listen to the whole book again the moment it ended, something that I've not experienced in years.
Any additional comments?
If you've not heard of Barron, this collection is an excellent introduction to his brand of terror. That is, stories that manage to be both literary and visceral, stories that celebrates many of the horror genre's tropes and conventions while at the some time subverting them. There's really no one out there writing works like Barron and if you love horror (especially horror of the cosmic, psychological, and somewhat pessimistic variety) then you owe it to yourself to buy this collection ASAP!
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