"The Last Feast of the Harlequin". A short story by Thomas Ligotti, a part of the American Gothic Tales collection.
What is it that buried itself before it's dead?
Alright, I confess. I haven't taken writing reviews very seriously - hell, writing in general is not done to the output that it needs to, for me. The sheer amount of housework needed to get done in my apartment feels like it's almost buried me, to some extent. It's not all bad news, however: I've recently come across two of my new best friends in this writing thing, in the form of a keyboard that syncs to my android phone and a book journal.
I've been feeling about as popular as this woman, of late. All I have are inanimate objects, maaan, give me a break.
Also, I've been gardening. I know no one cares, but I'm just gonna throw that out there.
I PARTY, HARD EVEN
Also - gardening in one of the most popular hobbies in America, probably right behind gaming. Because, hey, even I would often prefer playing a day in Gekkoukan High to figuring out if I'm helping or slowly killing my onions. Gah.
Where was I? Oh, yeah.
So, um, right up there with Barker, Ketchum, Brite and the even less-known McCammon, Ligotti is, or at least, really once was the horror enthusiant's du jor once upon a time, to the tune of about two decades ago. He's just one of the many examples of how the best of the genre - the horror genre - really is defined not so much at its best by the most popular of what is created, but rather by the hidden stuff that never gets popular because the world simply isn't fair. This is my first experience with Ligotti, and I have to say - color me impressed.
Reminding me in every way, shape and form seemingly of Lovecraft at his best, The Last Feast of the Harlequin truly gets how to make an homage to the author's style and quite a bit of his flair.
A haunting short story, the main problems that I came across in the text is the manner by which there is an excess of description, the very slow nature of the build-up to the story proper as well as the blank slate nature of the protagonist that are all staples of Lovecraft but are, nevertheless, as much as a mistake now as it was when Lovecraft first started writing marrs the work. At best, these aspects of the tale can be attributed as a purposeful homage to the Lovecraft, but at its worst, it comes off as unimaginative, badly planned and ill-paced.
What is this short story? It's like if you got your Barker in my Lovecraft and we both took a bite of the ending product and one of us had to eventually admit to the other that both tastes so much like the other so as not to seem all that distinguishable in the first place, so it all works out in the end. I dunno - Barker's always seemed spicier to me, angier, so there's that.