The Croning [NOOK Book]

Overview

Strange things exist on the periphery of our existence, haunting us from the darkness looming beyond our firelight. Black magic, weird cults and worse things loom in the shadows. The Children of Old Leech have been with us from time immemorial. And they love us...

Donald Miller, geologist and academic, has walked along the edge of a chasm for most of his nearly eighty years, leading a charmed life between endearing absent-mindedness and ...
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The Croning

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Overview

Strange things exist on the periphery of our existence, haunting us from the darkness looming beyond our firelight. Black magic, weird cults and worse things loom in the shadows. The Children of Old Leech have been with us from time immemorial. And they love us...

Donald Miller, geologist and academic, has walked along the edge of a chasm for most of his nearly eighty years, leading a charmed life between endearing absent-mindedness and sanity-shattering realization. Now, all things must converge. Donald will discover the dark secrets along the edges, unearthing savage truths about his wife Michelle, their adult twins, and all he knows and trusts. For Donald is about to stumble on the secret...

...of The Croning.

From Laird Barron, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of The Imago Sequence and Occultation, comes The Croning, a debut novel of cosmic horror.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Teeming with the cosmic horrors that distinguish the fiction of Lovecraft, Machen, and other weird fiction masters, this eerie first novel offers up a picture of human civilization as a plaything in the claws of malignant alien entities. Don Miller, a corporate geologist, is married to globe-trotting anthropologist Michelle Mock, who for decades has tracked clues pointing to the existence of “the little people.” As Michelle’s research exposes her and Don to numerous weird experiences over the years, it becomes evident that she is investigating something primal—and that she may be shielding Don from its mind-blasting incomprehensibility. The narrative toggles back and forth from past to present, establishing a rhythm between disturbing events and their foreshadowing that reaches a terrifying climax. Barron (Occultation) has studied the work of his predecessors well; already acknowledged a master of the horror short story, he shows himself equally skilled at novel-length work. Agent: Brendan Deneen, FinePrint Literary Management. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597804141
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books[Start]
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 24,310
  • File size: 412 KB

Meet the Author

Laird Barron is the author of two collections: The Imago Sequence, and Occultation. His work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies. An expatriate Alaskan, Barron currently resides in the wilds of Upstate New York.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 27, 2012

    The Croning follows Don Miller, a genial yet seemingly addle-min

    The Croning follows Don Miller, a genial yet seemingly addle-minded older gent whose career in geology has trailed off, along with his mental acuity. Don's wife Michelle, though nearly the same age, continues jetting around the globe, exploring, conferencing, and occasionally vanishing in ways that seem both secretive and suspicious. The book begins with an altered and mood-shifted version of the Rumplestilskin fable, which takes place in some indeterminate distant past, and also connects to the later story of Don, Michelle and their families. From there, the story moves from the 1950s to the 1980s to the present day. Time is not merely linear and forward-moving, in fact the looping, repetitive and continuous nature of time is a matter of repeated focus here.

    We encounter secret agents, corrupt police, weird rituals, and Barron's oft-present bored, wealthy decadents messing with things they oughtn't. The stories of Don, Michelle, their ancestors and the shadowy followers of Old Leach are full of dark mysteries, secrecy and possible betrayals.

    As a critic, even an informal one, do I compare The Croning against Barron's masterful shorter works, or against contemporary novels of horror and weird fiction by other authors?

    I'd say by any standard The Croning is a success. That's not to say The Croning eclipses such masterworks as "The Forest," "The Imago Sequence" or "Mysterium Tremendum" in craft, narrative impact or overall quality. Rather he equals the standard set by his own shorter works, and by doing so in the more widely accepted and commercially viable form of the novel, takes that necessary next step toward asserting a more general dominance over the horror/weird genre.

    A few years ago, any mention of Laird Barron's work invariably mentioned the word "Lovecraftian," yet over time Barron's work removed any question that his brand of cosmic horror had more going on than emulation of Lovecraft. Barron is in the process of establishing his own mythos with its own geography, including complex legends and interlocking structures of cause and effect. Readers familiar with his previous stories such as "The Men From Porlock" and others, will spot elements in The Croning which echo, either explicitly or implicitly, names, locations or events from earlier stories.

    With The Croning, Laird Barron steps outside the short fiction arena and proves his style, combining the brisk energy of pulp storytelling with the dense richness of literary prose, translates well to novel length. This broader canvas allows Barron time to accumulate disorientation, build up a painful tension, and gradually lower the reader into cosmic, abyssal darkness. After reading the last page, I felt the need to reorient myself, the way a diver must decompress after delving into deep waters.

    This is a powerful, affecting work of fiction, and the fact that it's a first novel implies great things are ahead for Barron and his readers. This guy is doing work of the highest order, and any fan of weird fiction, horror or dark fantasy needs to check it out. If you've held off checking out Laird Barron because you don't like short fiction, start with The Croning.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2014

    Unnecessary foul and vile language throughout stories

    This book contains some interesting stories but the author seems to be under the delusion that foul language and filthy descriptions of sexual acts belongs in fairy tales. Without the filth the book could have been great but the vile language and descriptions of sex took from the pleasure of the actual stories. A good tale only requires a good vocabulary and our language has a fantastic variety of descriptive language that doesn't go past the boundaries of good taste and writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    The Croning is another excellent tale from Laird Barron. I think

    The Croning is another excellent tale from Laird Barron. I think the length of the novel was adequate and he manages to tell a lot of story without unnecessary padding or over descriptive paragraphs. This novel has so many clever twists and turns that all link in as the novel closes. It is well worth reading and it is a superb horror novel in my opinion. I would suggest that potential readers of this book read Laird's novelette called, 'The Men From Porlock' first. However, that isn't a must and either can be read first or not at all. Both stories are excellent but The Croning will learn you much more about 'Old Leech' and his love for you and yours...

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  • Posted August 14, 2012

    I love Barron's stuff, to find out that he recently published an

    I love Barron's stuff, to find out that he recently published another book not too far from The Croning has me excited.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2013

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