Dreamscape Media. Nov. 2023. 940p. ISBN 9781666650532. Audio. $17.99. FANTASY
David has spent a lifetime looking to his older sister for cues on how to behave, feeling like an alien in his own village. David’s grandfather understands him like no one else, but then he disappears and doesn’t return from his last research trip. David is compelled toward a reckless quest to find the door out of the world that his grandfather must surely have taken. He can’t have just died, like Mum and Dad say. Hardaker’s (Composite Creatures) lyrical prose pours forth eerie, first-person paranoia and desperation as David dissolves his life in pursuit of a universe where he belongs and will be reunited with the departed. This character study comes alive in audio. Narrator Alan Cammish expresses a young man’s angry conviction even in David’s most isolated, wounded moments and always includes a note of yearning as he chases impossibilities. Cammish’s native Yorkshire accent locates David’s village full of “mud men” and missing-persons posters and familiarizes the horrors he wants to escape.
VERDICT Mournful meets ominous in this genre-bender, perfect for fans of gothic surrealism or the New Weird and narrated with compelling intimacy.★
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