Saturday, September 4, 2010

Russell Kirk's Fiction

I believe I mentioned recently that I like Ten Thousand Places. I was responding to some bloggy love that Margaret Perry had given me there. However, since then I have been checking in regularly and I really like it. It is one of those places that always has a little something interesting and sometimes a big something to think about. It is the sort of blog that reminds me of ... well, not to put too fine a point on it ... Happy Catholic.

Anyway, that is all to encourage you to check it out. And it is a very long intro to pointing you to her clippings from around the blogosphere. I followed her lead to this First Things' article about Russell Kirk's all time bestsellers. I was interested because people love him but I have never read his nonfiction. Thought I'd get a tip.


Because his all-time bestsellers were fiction. Ghoooossssttt stories.

And that rang a bell. Because though I haven't read any of those books and will be looking for them at the library, I have read a piece of his fiction which I enjoyed thoroughly. It was chock-full of ghostly goodness, cult-ish craziness, and ... ummm ... lots of other creepiness.

I reviewed it about a year ago, as a matter of fact, and will save you the trouble of clicking through. Here it is. Read this. Then go pick up a great ghost story by Russell Kirk and enjoy.
Lord of the Hollow Dark by Russell Kirk
Mr. Apollinax gathers a group of 13 people together in a castle that was the scene of a horrific murder earlier in history. Known to each other only by pseudonyms taken from T.S. Eliot poems, the goal of this group is to experience a mystical "timeless moment." We see the story alternately through the eyes of innocent Marina who has brought her baby with her and hopes for a glimpse of God and through those of the lustful rapist Sweeny who has no thoughts but those of personal gain. The story is an interesting mix of horror, occult, and philosophy. This book irresistibly called to mind Edgar Allen Poe or perhaps H.P. Lovecraft, in that although the story was peopled with evil, twisted characters it is written in such a way that the reader does not actually become frightened. (Except at one point close to the end where I was surprised at how horrified and repelled I was by something a character said.) This leaves the reader free to appreciate the more philosophical aspects as well. It was written in a style that definitely reminded me of other 1970's vintage horror/occult books I had written which was a strange style of reminiscing. I'm not sure if I'll reread it but I do know that I couldn't put it down.

1 comment:

  1. oh! Thanks for the mutual love! Personally, I have never finished a Russel Kirk non-fiction book, though I've read lots of his essays. But, yes, his ghost stories are great! I hope you find them at the Library.