Read La Gorge by Peter Straub Free Online
Book Title: La Gorge|
The author of the book: Peter Straub
The size of the: 447 KB
City - Country: No data
Date of issue: November 7th 2002
ISBN 13: 9782266126069
Format files: PDF
Loaded: 2462 times
Reader ratings: 4.7
Read full description of the books:
The Throat is an often brilliant thriller that is concerned with big questions about identity, the past and our memory of it, the demons that shape us and the demons we carry with us. It is intricately structured, densely layered, full of eerie and haunting dreams and flashbacks, and is impressively thoughtful in its take on murder and vengeance. As a third book in a trilogy, it also must extend and wrap up storylines started in the preceding novels Koko and Mystery – and for the most part it delivers. But sadly, the novel is a deeply flawed one. There are many minor irritations that I could look past, but I can’t ignore the flaw at its heart: its terrible mismanagement of a certain key character. The person at the heart of the novel seems to be the character that Straub lost all interest in fairly early on – which leaves the novel with a hollow core rather than one that should have been full of mystery and meaning.
Synopsis: Tim Underhill from Koko and Tom Pasmore from Mystery come together to solve a series of killings by a resurfaced – or new? – Blue Rose Killer. The Blue Rose killings and their legacy lived in the corners and shadows of prior novels and so I was full of anticipation in seeing them given their due.
It is a strange experience to read a book, admire the technical skill of its writing, and spend hours upon hours living in its world (The Throat is nearly 700 pages long)... and end up feeling utterly disappointed. And yet I don’t feel like I wasted my time. Straub is a masterful writer. This novel reconfirmed to me that he is the yin to Stephen King’s yang, the coolly intellectual brain to King’s bloodily beating heart. King has kinetic characters who jump off the page just as his narratives can spin messily out of control. Straub has dispassionate, contemplative ciphers as characters who live in stories that, despite being both lengthy and dreamily ambiguous, are still narratives that are carefully mapped out. I don’t think one writer is better than the other; they are both masters. I enjoy Straub's intelligence, his concentration, even his quasi-Jungian flourishes. Although it was ultimately a disappointment, it was a fascinating experience and I don’t regret the many hours spent within its pages. “Then the nightly miracle took place once again, and I fell down into the throat of my novel.”
SPOILERS FOLLOW. ALSO, a lot of bitching. So if you loved this book, you may just want to skip the rest.
Okay, the minor irritations. First: there is a very sloppy bit of meta-nonsense in the beginning where Peter Straub is a character in the novel; this is done to resolve the problem of Mystery’s island setting - which is incompatible with the story started with Koko and ending with The Throat. That sloppiness casts a shadow on the characters of Underhill and Pasmore, who now confusingly seem to have the same childhoods. Or not, who knows – Straub doesn’t clear things up. Second: the setting of Millhaven is schizophrenically portrayed: at times a small town where everyone knows everyone and you can easily walk from one end to the other in the space of a couple hours, at other times a highly dangerous city of industry (365 murders a year! For real?) modeled on Chicago or Milwaukee or Detroit. Third: by the middle of the book I easily figured out the identities of all three killers: Old Killer, New Killer, Surprise Killer. It was obvious to me and I am no Tom Pasmore: the Bad Man, the Good Man, and the Catalyst (for the story itself) are all too-clearly telegraphed as the killers on numerous occasions. Fourth: Lt. Bachelor is compelling but is also a second-rate Colonel Kurtz, living in his Vietnam era heart of darkness. Fifth: the use of race riots as a backdrop in a novel that itself doesn’t engage with race or racial tensions felt disrespectful and cheap.
I could actually have looked past all of those things and still given this novel a somewhat qualified thumbs up. But the laziness in dealing with central character John Ransom just drove me up the wall. This is a character who is the catalyst for the entire novel. He is given an intriguing introduction that sets him up to be fascinatingly multidimensional; his flashback appearances in Vietnam are likewise interesting. But that is not the character we spend the most time with – instead we get a John Ransom who is a petty, whiny, greedy dipshit who exists to bitch, moan, roll his eyes, and make a series of foolish mistakes. He becomes a tedious drag to the story whenever he appears. John Ransom needed to be an ambiguous creation, evasive and mysterious yet real enough to come alive on the page – practically every other page, because he’s that much of a lynchpin to The Throat’s narrative. He needed to be resonant; instead he is flat, flat, flat. Fie, Straub, fie! The heart of darkness is not a petulant douchebag.
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Read information about the authorPeter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 2 March, 1943, the first of three sons of a salesman and a nurse. The salesman wanted him to become an athlete, the nurse thought he would do well as either a doctor or a Lutheran minister, but all he wanted to do was to learn to read.
When kindergarten turned out to be a stupefyingly banal disappointment devoted to cutting animal shapes out of heavy colored paper, he took matters into his own hands and taught himself to read by memorizing his comic books and reciting them over and over to other neighborhood children on the front steps until he could recognize the words. Therefore, when he finally got to first grade to find everyone else laboring over the imbecile adventures of Dick, Jane and Spot (“See Spot run. See, see, see,”), he ransacked the library in search of pirates, soldiers, detectives, spies, criminals, and other colorful souls, Soon he had earned a reputation as an ace storyteller, in demand around campfires and in back yards on summer evenings.
This career as the John Buchan to the first grade was interrupted by a collision between himself and an automobile which resulted in a classic near-death experience, many broken bones, surgical operations, a year out of school, a lengthy tenure in a wheelchair, and certain emotional quirks. Once back on his feet, he quickly acquired a severe stutter which plagued him into his twenties and now and then still puts in a nostalgic appearance, usually to the amusement of telephone operators and shop clerks. Because he had learned prematurely that the world was dangerous, he was jumpy, restless, hugely garrulous in spite of his stutter, physically uncomfortable and, at least until he began writing horror three decades later, prone to nightmares. Books took him out of himself, so he read even more than earlier, a youthful habit immeasurably valuable to any writer. And his storytelling, for in spite of everything he was still a sociable child with a lot of friends, took a turn toward the dark and the garish, toward the ghoulish and the violent. He found his first “effect” when he discovered that he could make this kind of thing funny.
As if scripted, the rest of life followed. He went on scholarship to Milwaukee Country Day School and was the darling of his English teachers. He discovered Thomas Wolfe and Jack Kerouac, patron saints of wounded and self-conscious adolescence, and also, blessedly, jazz music, which spoke of utterance beyond any constraint: passion and liberation in the form of speech on the far side of the verbal border. The alto saxophone player Paul Desmond, speaking in the voice of a witty and inspired angel, epitomized ideal expressiveness, Our boy still had no idea why inspired speech spoke best when it spoke in code, the simultaneous terror and ecstasy of his ancient trauma, as well as its lifelong (so far, anyhow) legacy of anger, being so deeply embedded in the self as to be imperceptible, Did he behave badly, now and then? Did he wish to shock, annoy, disturb, and provoke? Are you kidding? Did he also wish to excel, to keep panic and uncertainty at arm's length by good old main force effort? Make a guess. So here we have a pure but unsteady case of denial happily able to maintain itself through merciless effort. Booted along by invisible fears and horrors, this fellow was rewarded by wonderful grades and a vague sense of a mysterious but transcendent wholeness available through expression. He went to the University of Wisconsin and, after opening his eyes to the various joys of Henry James, William Carlos Williams, and the Texas blues-rocker Steve Miller, a great & joyous character who lived across the street, passed through essentially unchanged to emerge in 1965 with an honors degree in English, then an MA at Columbia a year later. He thought actual writing was probably beyond him even though actual writing was probably what he was best at - down crammed he many and many a book, stirred by
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