Happy Samhain!

With tomorrow in mind, I was thinking today back over books we reviewed this year that fulfill my seasonal need for a "chilling" read.  And one stands out: the appropriately titled White is For Witching  by Helen Oyeyemi.


The story is hard to summarize -- but briefly, the story contains a haunted house, a cursed family, an obsession with eating dirt, fear of immigrants, and the mythic Afro-Carribbean figure of the soucouyant, a sort of psychic vampire.  Call it post-colonial gothic, maybe.  In any case,  I found it rich, compelling, and pretty scary.


Our reviewer, Amelia Atlas, had this to say about Oyeyemi's prose:


"Oyeyemi writes with a lyricism that begs to be noticed. Her characters, like their author, are image makers. As a narrator, Eliot takes pains to catch the world with the clarity it demands. "I can only explain it in comparison to something mundane," he practically apologizes when trying to describe the presence of his mother's phantom. The novel has an almost aggressive poetry, going to far as to play formal games with where the words fall on the page -- a word will appear surrounded by blank space, forming the end of one sentence while beginning the next. It's as if even the text itself were haunted by absence."


And if that isn't to your liking on this Halloween weekend, then I recommend a classic.



July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).