Reading Notes, 2/15/21

Finished Reading

The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada
(translated by David Boyd)

When it comes to reading materials, I generally don’t care about “best of” or nomination lists, but I make an exception for horror fiction. I’m usually curious about what the industry considers good in the horror genre. I’d been seeing The Hole mentioned here and there and took the opportunity to check it out from the library where not nearly enough Japanese horror is available.

It’s a curious story. According to the summary on Goodreads, Asa and her husband move to the countryside (“next door” to his parents) when he gets a new job—the commute being not bad since they’re in a less populated place. I suppose if you’re used to a city such as Tokyo, the area that Asa and her husband move to might be considered countryside, but to me it had a more suburban feel. It reminds me of the edge of Omaha where the 7-11 or the wilderness along a creek are both as easily encountered. Houses aren’t too close together and have a good deal of yard. My notion of countryside left me expecting something different

For the secong time in a row (the other being House of the Borderland), I read a story in which many strange things happen, but there is very little pursuit of the the mystery. Asa isn’t terribly interested in getting to the bottom of the weird things that are happening. She’s pretty acquiescent about all the things that happened to her, even in her city life before moving. And it occurred to me that I’m overly used to the mystery of a story being solved, or at least actively investigated. That left me dissatisfied, but not overly so. There is a sort of Gothic vibe to the story that reminds me a little of Jane Eyre or Rebecca: a young woman is led into a situation, her married family is involved, there’s maybe something nefarious going on, and in the end she’s changed by it.

I guess maybe this is just part of that magical realism genre that I’m not very conversant with/in.

Deal Me In

K♥️: “Whatever Comes After Calcutta” by David Erik Nelson
from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nov-Dec 2017

Calcutta, Ohio, that is. Though published in 2017, I was kind of surprised that one of the story’s background characters wore a MAGA hat. I suppose that’s a shorthand that we will see often for certain types of characters in this era, but it still felt weird to me. Anyway. An okay story of a modern-day witchery.

Currently Reading

Starting Dune Messiah this week. I have a leisurely reading pace scheduled. I’ve been listening to William Hope Hodgson’s The Ghost Pirates while playing Minecraft. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while, but got the notion that I should read The Boats of the “Glen Caring” and The House on the Borderland first. Thus far, I find no story connection between the three, but there are definitely some thematic connections.

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