Saturday, July 08, 2006


Honestly, this book from Earthling Publicationsscared the crap out of me. Reading Conrad Williams is like reading some amazing cross-pollination of Bosch mixed with early Clive Barker before he got all puffy, with the writing skills of an M. John Harrison. This is heady stuff, and frightening because Williams is so good at conveying the reality of even an insane situation.

From a draft of my introduction:

In the most horrific scenes in The Unblemished—and there are many—Williams’ writing is so good it makes you want to re-read sentences even as you’re trying to look away. It’s not that he makes everything pretty. Far from it. Instead, it’s that he’s fully in the moment, fully engaged in giving the reader the specific and telling detail that makes a character or a scene come to life. Perhaps as importantly, he doesn’t hand you comic-book violence or TV realism like so many writers these days. You can’t escape Williams because what he offers up to the reader has no falseness to it. If you want escapism, find it somewhere else.

In certain quarters, it has been easy for reviewers and readers to dismiss horror. I think they dismiss horror because they read examples that contain bad writing or only rudimentary ideas of character and theme. Or examples in which the writer has given up on telling an honest story.

But Conrad Williams' is a master stylist, and a master of observation--and in bringing these powers to bear on very dark material, he creates something both unyielding and oddly beautiful. And compelling.

The book's out in October. I highly recommend it. You should probably buy it now before it's sold out.



At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jeff,in what way do you mean "before barker got all puffy"?


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