One of my favorite elements of The Militia House, was the quiet, steady way horror infused itself into what is also a solider’s story. What do you want from a good horror novel? How did (or didn’t) this novel meet those expectations?
I want nothing from a good horror novel except for to be as far away as possible. Twilight Zone, over 50 years ago, was more than enough. 😵💫😬🥴
100% would never have read this if I'd known it was horror, but such is the power of a Roxane Gay book club pick/recommendation! I'm about halfway through, and getting creeped out for sure. I have to read it during the bright light of day; it's so good at moving between the supernatural/creepy things and the mundane reality of being a soldier on base.
Unrelenting mystery that punishes, with horror for daring to gaze into the dark.
I don't read horror, at least not intentionally. I loved how the horror snuck up on me in this novel, which made it more devastating, more real.
I like that the horror isn't obvious, but subtle. Like, it can be explained away by misunderstanding or mis-remembering. It reminds me a bit of The Shining that way. You wonder if the main character is really experiencing it or slowly losing their mind.
I like a sense of creeping, almost unbearable dread, building to a scary payoff. The hot, bright, sandy setting subverted horror expectations at first. But then, it would make sense that any place where wartime horrors happened would be haunted. I felt that a bit when I visited the beaches of Normandy. This book had the slow build up, for sure. I'm interested in hearing from the author what he was trying to say about being haunted places and PTSD. This book was a put a new spin on the horrors of war trope. I liked it!
2 emails for me today back to back - this one and ‘the Daily Dharma’ from Tricycle. The quote, from Pema Chodron, “ On Not Losing Heart”
‘When we get really angry, resentful, fearful, or selfish - we start to go a little unconscious. We lose our awareness of what we’re doing with our body, speech, and mind. In this state, it’s all too easy to let ourselves spiral downward.’ I , too don’t really enjoy horror … but psychological thrillers are a different matter. They always resonate when the chicken comes home to roost.
And the thing about porcupine quills is they are barbed on the end, so they can actually work their way further under a dog’s skin, the more painful to extract.
The timing in this story was the thing that made it work - and every time he was about to escape he got pulled deeper in....
I understand how this is done with film but I never understood how it works in literature - and yet it does....
Deborah Katz - yes!!! I had two older brothers, so I'd have to go hide when Twilight Zone was in! Even my husband loved it! I don't want horror. Tfg's mug shot for his angry supporters is nightmare enough!