13. Those Across the River – Christopher Buehlman
This is some Southern Gothic. Those Across the River is beautifully written, with lots of images that stick with you long after the reading is over. The dust, the stickiness, the pigs, the woods, that one guy with his little shack who occasionally reminded me of a way smarter Torgo… there’s just so much here. And I loved the results of the central mystery. It wasn’t quite what I expected, and I ended up pleasantly surprised.
Finny would save Ozma from anything, if he could get across the pumpkin.
69. Twilight – William Gay
I picked this up at a thrift store on Magazine Street that no longer exists as far as I can tell and used to have a silver rocking horse hanging above it. I’ve never really been sure what it was called. Mr. Cheese and I had a lot of fun there, they had a new stuffed Gizmo in a bird cage and this lovely calendar from a Chinese restaurant with especially lovely rabbits on it…it’s also the place I bought Mr. Cheese his second sugar urn, i.e. a sugar bowl that, for the un-tea-cultured poors like me, looks more like an urn than it does a sugar bowl. He found his first one in Iowa.
Anyway, I bought this book because the description made it sound like it was going to be a southern gothic version of Phantasm. There’s a funeral director doing questionable things with the bodies and a young man who must stop him. Well, it’s not like Phantasm. For one thing, there’s no Reggie character. And it not being like Phantasm has sort of clouded my judgment. You see the sentences, they are pretty. I am rarely in the mood for pretty sentences, if ever, so I can appreciate this for what it is – a well written story about a young man who has gone into the local wilderness trying to get to a sheriff before he gets killed by the local psychopath (who was hired by the funeral director). There’s some poetically written nature, some Odyssey-like characters, and some mysteriousness that reminded me a bit of The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale but not as nasty- but it just wasn’t working for me as a reader. Especially when the actions that started the story were resolved in two sentences, at the very end, and the sentences came from a character who was supposedly important throughout the book but didn’t end up doing anything but resolving the starting action. It’s a journey story and usually I really like those, but I just wasn’t able to get into this one once I realized it wasn’t quite what I thought it was going to be.
“No Tall Man? No ice cream truck? Why even bother writing a creepy funeral director character if he’s not pursued by a team of misfits and the resolution to his story basically occurs off-page?” Pickles has my back, because I put words in her mouth, but still, she would have my back.