Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward.

Finished this novella by HP Lovecraft in the early hours of last night.It provoked some disturbing dreams. Before I read the book I had a notion that Dexter Ward was some sort of insane warlock who meddled in Necromancy or the Black Arts.He was actually a very likeable gregarious young man who just dug too deep and released Balrogs of the soul.It is chilling stuff. a slow burning unease builds as we are fed details and information that lead us all around the more esoteric areas of Providence. The isolated farm houses and huge mansions of fading gentility. Mad dogs howl in the night as ghouls prowl the local cemeteries digging for things best left to their eternal rest.Ward is corrupted by the thins he learns and unwittingly becomes the target for schemes set in motion long before he was even born.The evil in this book is ancient and patient and it does not play by any rules other than its own.
               I was reminded of one of my favorite MR James story A View From A Hill as an innocent young man falls victim to a device build by evil hands and a mind he could barely fathom.A lot of MR James stories involve antiquarians or bookish individuals who probe too deeply into areas where devilish entities wait. Never benign always twisted and cruel and merciless. I like the old world feeling of so many of his stories and the new worldliness HP Lovecraft brings to similar material. The view from America so to speak.True, the entities which inhabit his tales are older than time itself, birthed in deep time but a some of his narrators are our colonial cousins adapting to a world which changes but never fully steps from the shadow of the past.Something which is pointed out out as a failing on Lovecraf'ts part. Yet I suspect it is one of the things which help his work live on so long after his passing.
             I only mention it as a recommendation for winter reading.The time is just right.
             The dark deep time.