Goldenland Past Dark

Goldenland Past DarkGoldenland Past Dark by Chandler Klang Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An accomplished and beautifully written debut novel from an author from whom I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more. A coterie of circus “freaks,” a cynical helper monkey, and a seriously disturbed family all share the spotlight in this affecting tale of a circus clown named Webern who is losing his grip on sanity. Webern may be the protagonist, but it’s the female characters in his life who are the most interesting to me: Nepenthe, the reluctant “lizard girl” of the freak show; Bo-Bo, Webern’s outlandishly eccentric grandmother (who really should have been in the novel for longer than she was); and perhaps most of all, the twins Willow and Billow, Webern’s spooky, witchy sisters who share their own nonsense language, speak to others only in rhyme, and make art out of dead animals. While the characters are extraordinarily well drawn, I did find myself wishing there were more of a through-plot on which to hang my hat. But it’s not really that kind of novel. It’s far more interested in letting you explore its world at a leisurely pace, much like the sideshows to which it pays such loving homage. Well worth reading. I’m looking forward to whatever the author comes up with next!

View all my reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

 

News & Updates

  • 09/22/2020 — Anais Nin at the Grand GuignolAna├»s Nin at the Grand Guignol by Robert Levy My rating: 5 of 5 stars Dark, sexy, and written in a suitably decadent prose style, Robert Levy’s supernatural take on historical figures Anais Nin, Henry Miller, June Miller, and real-life star of the Grand Guignol Paula Maxa will leave you breathless.…Read more »
  • 09/17/2020 — Harrow County, Vol. 2: Twice ToldHarrow County, Vol. 2: Twice Told by Cullen Bunn My rating: 5 of 5 stars Emmy’s long-lost twin sister Kammi visits Harrow County to meet her sister and claim her power, setting off a dark chain of events that turns the haints against Emmy.…Read more »
  • 09/09/2020 — Underworld DreamsUnderworld Dreams by Daniel Braum My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is Daniel Braum’s best collection yet, filled with stories that exhibit a masterful sense of ambiguity and explore the tension between the personal and the profound.…Read more »
  • 08/28/2020 — Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless HaintsHarrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints by Cullen Bunn My rating: 5 of 5 stars A fun, fast-moving setup to what I expect will be a highly enjoyable series, COUNTLESS HAINTS combines writer Cullen Bunn’s masterful use of atmosphere and setting with artist Tyler Crook’s vibrant watercolor illustrations to create something truly compelling.…Read more »
  • 08/26/2020 — Survivor SongSurvivor Song by Paul Tremblay My rating: 5 of 5 stars Paul Tremblay steps away from the ambiguous, maybe-supernatural horror novels he’s been writing over the past few years to present a realistic tale of survival amid a scientifically-based epidemic.…Read more »

Archives

Search