Date Completed: January 8, 2011
So, this is one of the authors I saw circulating around the blogosphere in 2010. I had hoped to read this book for the R.I.P. challenge, but unfortunately my library didn't have any of his books and by the time they agreed to my request to buy at least one, it was January! This book would be perfect for the challenge, though, if you are ever wondering what to read. The cc (for those that are new to my blog, that means 'Charming Comedian' and is my creative way of saying 'the guy') fell asleep on the couch last night, so I wandered off to the bedroom to read. I decided to try this book because I have been curious about it for a while. It was a perfect nighttime atmospheric read. For starters, it is a group of stories that is being told in front of a fire in a spooky old house to a young boy. You can easily read this book and feel like the stories are being told directly to you. I like that!
This spine-tingling, thrill-packed novel has more than enough fear-factor for the most ardent fan of scary stories. Uncle Montague lives alone in a big house, but regular visits from his nephew, Edward, give him the opportunity to recount some of the most frightening stories he knows. As each tale unfolds, it becomes clear that something sinister is in the air. From the account of a curious boy who intrudes on Old Mother Tallow's garden to a shy girl's ghostly encounter during an innocent game of hide and seek, a pattern emerges of young lives gone awry in the most terrifying of ways. Young Edward begins to wonder just how Uncle Montague knows all these ghastly tales, and ultimately discovers that his mysterious uncle's life has a darker side than he ever imagined. This cleverly wrought collection of stories-within-a-story by Chris Priestly is perfectly matched in darkly witty illustrations by David Roberts.
Unlike a collection of short stories, this has breaks so you can get to know the storyteller, Uncle Montague, and his audience, Edgar. Then, he launches into another story. At the end of the book you also get to hear a story about Uncle Montague. I thought that was a nice touch because Edgar is curious about his uncle, which means that we are made curious, too. You know there is more to things than meets the eyes. Edgar is skeptical, though. He thinks his uncle is ill or in poor mental health. Especially when Montague hints that the stories he tells are not entirely stories. I also like the rather ambiguous endings that some of the stories have. You know that there is danger afoot, but he doesn't tell you exactly what happens. You have to draw your own conclusions. Some of the stories are very different, but others you will feel like you have heard before. They just have a slight twist to them.
The other thing to note is the fantastically creepy artwork that is included. I found that the pictures really helped to set the stage for the stories. There was one included for everyone, which was a great touch. David Roberts has done a really good job of making Priestley's visions a reality. I have to say that I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Priestley in the future. I am glad I gave in to the majority rule this time!
This book counts for the TwentyEleven Reading Challenge.