22. Dark Harvest – Norman Partridge
Carrie for the Pumpkinhead set. It’s not an epistolary work and it’s taking elements from The Long Walk and “The Lottery” as well (of course, Carrie also had that incident with the rocks); but, for the most part the shifting perspectives, the matter of fact tone, the destruction of homes and businesses, and especially the “we’re ending this shit tonight” element of The October Boy’s journey through the town were very reminiscent of Carrie. If it had been just a bit longer or dwelled just a bit more on the reality of the town perhaps I would have felt more like the characters had some stakes they were up against though. So, the Guild doesn’t like people leaving town, huh? Why? Consequences and their evil motivations didn’t feel fully discussed to me. At least not to the point where I felt something original was happening.
When you use tropes from two Stephen King books and toss in some Shirley Jackson I want some depth because I’m being asked to treat this as an original story as opposed to an homage and it’s not a movie. The thing is, in a novel you have the space to establish stakes, establish why the reader should care, establish a person or persons for the reader to care about and for me this was light on all of those things and at 169 pages, I’m not surprised. I would have appreciated more. Maybe more people should have been allowed to speak out loud to each other, I can’t help but think that the lack of dialogue might be what’s not working for me. Basically though, this is the kind of book where I want to say “it was really cool” or “this part was awesome” because I do like a good pumpkinhead and I enjoy the ideas of ancient rites or creepy traditions in small towns and I really like reading about small-town America in time periods where help is not a cell-phone call away, but I didn’t take much from this besides immediately wanting to describe it as I did in my first fragment, “Carrie for the Pumpkinhead set.” So nice I said it twice.