The Night Ocean

The Night Ocean

Book - 2017
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"From the award-winning author and New Yorker contributor, a riveting novel about secrets and scandals, psychiatry and pulp fiction, inspired by the lives of H.P. Lovecraft and his circle. Marina Willett, M.D., has a problem. Her husband, Charlie, has become obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft, in particular with one episode in the legendary horror writer's life: In the summer of 1934, the "old gent" lived for two months with a gay teenage fan named Robert Barlow, at Barlow's family home in central Florida. What were the two of them up to? Were they friends--or something more? Just when Charlie thinks he's solved the puzzle, a new scandal erupts, and he disappears. The police say it's suicide. Marina is a psychiatrist, and she doesn't believe them. A tour-de-force of storytelling, The Night Ocean follows the lives of some extraordinary people: Lovecraft, the most influential American horror writer of the 20th century, whose stories continue to win new acolytes, even as his racist views provoke new critics; Barlow, a seminal scholar of Mexican culture who killed himself after being blackmailed for his homosexuality (and who collaborated with Lovecraft on the beautiful story "The Night Ocean"); his student, future Beat writer William S. Burroughs; and L.C. Spinks, a kindly Canadian appliance salesman and science-fiction fan -- the only person who knows the origins of The Erotonomicon, purported to be the intimate diary of Lovecraft himself. As a heartbroken Marina follows her missing husband's trail in an attempt to learn the truth, the novel moves across the decades and along the length of the continent, from a remote Ontario town, through New York and Florida to Mexico City. The Night Ocean is about love and deception -- about the way that stories earn our trust, and betray it"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, [2017]
ISBN: 9781101981085
1101981083
Characteristics: 389 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.

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lukasevansherman
May 23, 2019

A woman's husband disappears. A writer, he has become obsessed with the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, especially about an affair Lovecraft may have had with another man. It's party mystery, part literary exercise (there are layers of texts and it's ambiguous what is true and what is fabricated), and party exploration of the deeply conflicted legacy of Lovecraft, who is perhaps the most influential horror writer of the 20th century but was also deeply racist. It's one of a number of works trying to reckon with his legacy; there's also "Lovecraft Country" and "Ballad of Black Tom."

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goldenbeetle
May 15, 2019

I did not read this. Writing style was choppy.

d
DebitDad
Oct 22, 2017

I loved this book. The shifting perspectives each present a story that one wishes would continue in its own right and each re-shapes the over-all tale. Highly recommended.

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