06 September 2016

Review: The Broken Hours: A Novel of H. P. Lovecraft

The Broken Hours: A Novel of H. P. Lovecraft The Broken Hours: A Novel of H. P. Lovecraft by Jacqueline Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I guess it was only a matter of time before Lovecraft himself started winding his proverbial tentacles into the New Weird as a character, but here we are with The Broken Hours, a quiet, creepy affair.

The story is mainly about a man who takes an assistant position in an old house in Providence. He never meets the man he works for, communicating only in letters. The house is believed to be haunted, there is unexplained phenomena throughout, and the book follows these reveals slowly throughout.

The most frustrating part of reading this book is that Jacqueline Baker makes a conscious decision to place all quotes within italics instead, which is something I never got used to and really drew me out of the story instead of perhaps drawing me inward as intended. The result is that the narrative itself, while an interesting, slow burn, feels more than a little stilted as one tries to get back into the tale. Other readers might not have the same issue, though.

There's not a lot of obvious mythos here, and the payoff isn't what I personally expected, but this is still a fun read. Things are just uneasy and creepy enough to keep the reader engaged, and the Providence of this book feels appropriately Lovecraftian (even though people aren't fornicating with the sea monsters as far as we can tell), so there's a lot to love here for those interested in weird fiction or Lovecraft in general. There's just too much here that doesn't quite work that keeps The Broken Hours from being great instead of the very good that it is.

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