Customer Reviews for

Occultation: And Other Stories

Average Rating 2.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

37 out of 56 people found this review helpful.

Highly Recommended!

Horror diehards ave reason to celebrate.

Laird Barron does not write "happily ever after." If you are looking for pretty stories with happy endings, or even creepy stories with happy endings, look elsewhere, because there's nothing pretty nor happy in Laird Barron's...
Horror diehards ave reason to celebrate.

Laird Barron does not write "happily ever after." If you are looking for pretty stories with happy endings, or even creepy stories with happy endings, look elsewhere, because there's nothing pretty nor happy in Laird Barron's Occultation, his second collection of dark fiction following the success of his first, The Imago Sequence and Other Stories.

That Barron does not write "happily ever after" is not to say that Occultation is lacking in heroes and heroines, fools and apostates, prodigal sons and beckoning fair ones. On the contrary, the reader will find these archetypes in each of the stories in this collection, stories rich in allegorical themes that engage all the senses -- sight, touch, smell, taste, hearing, and emotion -- only with a bleak and horrifying twist. Barron's story-telling in Occultation grabs the reader by the back of the neck and forces him to look at this, reminding the reader that reality is not always pretty, even when reality is couched in fantasy.

Bad things happen to good people, average people, and oblivious people -- especially oblivious people.

The irony here is that Barron sets up and executes these Chthonic revelations with such graceful and seductive elocution that the reader goes willingly to his "readerly" fate, every bit as willingly as Barron's protagonists go not-so-gently into that endless night. This said, the reader can choose to ride safely over the surface of each tale and sigh afterward that the protagonist's fate was not hers, or she can choose to dive into deeper waters where hidden formulae found in the Gnostic art of Gematria informs her of metaphysical secrets, and ancient rituals performed in an upside-down looking-glass world reveal psycho-spiritual insight. The reader has a choice in Occultation: read for entertainment, or read for information. Or read for both. There is mystery aplenty to be found in either venture.

Occultation is all that, the art of legerdemain, as was experienced in The Imago Sequence. But where The Imago Sequence presented with lone protagonists unwittingly encountering and sometimes surviving a hostile universe, we find in Barron's Occultation a "progression" of interrelated stories, in which his main characters encounter adversity while involved in significant relationships. In fact, it is sometimes because of the significant relationship that the protagonist meets his/her doom. We've gone from Imago, a primitive and idealized chrysalis of the primary object, i.e., assimilation of the parental figure, to Occultation, the act of combining various but ambiguous dynamics to produce a specific effect in relationships, i.e., accommodation and compromise.

A must-read for Lovecraft fans!

posted by Jody_Rose on September 8, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

48 out of 117 people found this review helpful.

Horrible language

Received on Free Friday, but not worth keeping due to excessive bad language. I would like to give zero stars, but one is required.

posted by br549GA on May 18, 2012

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