A Masterful tale that weaves it's Magic
by John Langan
"A story doesn't have to be fitted like some of pre - fabricated house - no, it's got to go its own way - but it does have to flow. Even a tale as black as this has its course"
The Fisherman is a masterful tale of suspense and eldritch terror.
Langan's tale of grief, horror and otherworldly horrors is an absolute masterpiece. This booked deprived me of sleep as I could not put it down and had to read well into the night to find out what happened next.
The story revolves around Abraham or 'Abe', as he tells us in the first line of the book, and Dan.
When Abe's wife dies from cancer, he finds solace and relief from his grief in the gentle art of fishing. He finds that it quiets his mind and helps him get through the grief.
When Dan, a colleague at work experiences a sudden bereavement, Abe offers his hand in friendship, the two form an unlikely bond, borne out of their shared grief.
One Day, Dan unexpectedly suggests a change to their normal fishing trips and suggests a trip to an unknown stretch of water, called Dutchman's Creek.
It's on their journey to Dutchman's Creek that the strange tale of how the unmapped stretch of water got it's name, when they stop in fisherman's diner. The horrific tale is told to them - as a warning.
As I said earlier, this book is a masterpiece of suspense. The book is essentially two stories, the tale of Abe and Dan, and also the history of Dutchman's Creek and the terrifying events that surround it.
Whilst, essentially these seem like two diverging tales. Langan skillfully weaves and interlocks the two stories into a fantastic ending that sent me searching for more of this author's work.
In addition to two stories, the story is told from two different perspectives. Firstly Abe's, and then Howard, the owner of the diner which Abe and Dan visit on their way to Dutchman's Creek, who tells them the events surrounding how the creek got its name. For the final act of the book, we return to Abe and the initial story.
This altering of the narrator, crafts the idea that there is a story within a story so effectively that you do not notice the shift of tone, but it makes it all the more compelling as you wonder how this has an effect on the main story.
The initial story is set in the modern world of computers and IBM. However, there is a complete contrast of the second story which is set at the time of the construction of the Ashoken Reservoir, whose employees are mainly immigrants to America who bring their own folklore and customs.
The prose that Langan writes is not too difficult, but it is hard to define his style. Whilst, it can be quite literary at times with passages of description, for anyone who is familiar with Lovecraft, this should not be too difficult to get your head around. In some ways, Langan's style is reminiscent of Stephen king and Shirley Jackson (he is on the Board of the Shirley Jackson Awards) in that he slowly layers the uneasiness constantly throughout his story until the story reaches a crescendo.
Essentially, though, this is a human story of how grief affects us and what we would not do to have that final day with those who have passed.
For me, I would recommend this book to anyone (and have to anyone who will listen) as one of the best horror novels of recent years and I do not say this lightly.
The Fisherman by John Langan is published by Word Horde and is available to buy now at all the usual outlets.
PS. If you fancy reading this novel, Word Horde have joined forces with Story Bundle to give a curated collection of books. This bundle is five books of independent horror that is at a minimum price of $5 (but you can give more if you want to). you can determine how much of the profits the authors receive and also donate to charity. I found out that this offer is only available for the next two weeks. So, Check it out.
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