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The Croning

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  970 ratings  ·  193 reviews
Strange things exist on the periphery of our existence, haunting us from the darkness looming beyond our firelight. Black magic, weird cults and worse things loom in the shadows. The Children of Old Leech have been with us from time immemorial. And they love us...

Donald Miller, geologist and academic, has walked along the edge of a chasm for most of his nearly eighty years
ebook, 320 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by Night Shade Books (first published May 2012)
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I thought if I waited a few days, I would have the time to give this book the review it deserves, but I was wrong.

It deserves something though, so here it is: I think this book was outstanding. The prose, the imagery, even the vivid retelling of an old fairy tale-all converged to produce this "out of this world" novel.

It's literary, it's scary, it's darkly beautiful. You should read it.

That is all.
"Monsters go wherever monsters wanna go." (The Croning)

I've always felt that Horror works best in the short form. Oh, there are many great Horror novels out there, but the short story, the novella, seem to provide the better stage, the better platform for the genre. Barron understand this Horror fact, as evidenced by this two previous short story collections (The Imago Sequence, and Occultation), which are, to my mind, among the best Horror collections ever gathered. And keep in mind these are n
Brett Talley
Note: I received an ARC copy of The Croning.

It’s rare that I read a book and think to myself, I could never have written this. Call it hubris, pride if you will. It just doesn’t happen.

I could never have written Laird Barron’s The Croning, and I consider that the ultimate compliment.

I’m a naturally optimistic guy, and it shows in my writing. I like keeping hope alive, and so even when I write horror, it tends to have a hopeful tone. The Croning is not hopeful. It is not sunny. It’s dark man, w
T.E. Grau
Laird Barron made me gain five pounds.

No, he didn’t hold me down and shovel deep fried butter wedges into my gaping yapper (although, dare to dream). What he did was write a colossal piece of fiction that was nearly impossible to put down, even at the gym, where I do much of my reading every morning. As I hazily recall, just before cracking open Barron’s debut novel The Croning some weeks back, I marched my happy ass off to the local garishly lit LA Fitness, eager to absorb a few pages in betwee
Benjamin Uminsky
As a caveat to this overly long review... full disclosure...I have an odd aversion to horror fiction in the long form. Hard to say why, but my preference in my weird fiction is for the short form, and to say that Laird Barron excels at this length is mildly understating it... the man is a modern master of the cosmic horror short story. Not to prattle on too much, but while I was of course very excited to hear about Barron's debut release of his first novel, my initial thoughts were: NOOOOOO!!! D ...more
Jon Recluse
Like straw into gold, Barron spins words into a palpable darkness, weaving a tapestry of old gods and modern madness in this masterful work of literary horror. From it's horrific re-imagining of Rumpelstiltskin that out-grims the Brothers Grimm, the story unravels with the logic of a nightmare, as a forgotten evil reaches out from the dim past into the present day.
Barron brings an unspeakable allure to horror, creating a beautiful dark gem, it's facets beckoning us with the cold caress of fear
Oct 10, 2012 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of horror and psychological suspense
Recommended to Katy by: NetGalley
Book Info: Genre: Horror Reading Level: Adult Read: started 5/17/12; re-started 5/20/12 and finished 5/21/12

Disclosure: I received a free eGalley (eBook ARC) from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Oops, forgot to rate this!

Synopsis: Strange things exist on the periphery of our existence, haunting us from the darkness looming beyond our firelight. Black magic, weird cults and worse things loom in the shadows. The Children of Old Leech have been with us from time immemorial. And they love
Jason Parent
My first read of Laird Barron, and I can guarantee I'll be lining up more. What seems to be a popular motif at the moment (until the bandwagon tips over), Barron gives his take on a classic fairly tale, modernizes it, and makes it oh-so-enjoyably full of dread.

I am convinced this story was inspired by the poet and apparent knight, Sir Mix-A-Lot, when he opined: "ooh, rumple smooth skin. You say you wanna get in my Benz?"

Yes, Rumplesmooth... ahem... Rumpelstiltskin provides little more than an a
The deepest cavern in the world is the human heart.

Laird Barron is my favorite contemporary weird fiction author. I love his short stories but let's face it, many times weird and or horror fiction does not fare very well in a longer format, it's just too difficult to maintain the feeling of dread/horror/unease over an extended period of time. Needless to say I was a bit worried about this book before I started and honestly, I did a decent amount of bitchin' as I read through the story........thi
Initial Review Before I Was Able To Gather My Thoughts:

This is the best book I've read in years. I'm in awe of Laird Barron.

My friends who have this marked as to-read, move it up your list for lord's sake. I'll try to write a more comprehensive review at a later time but for now I'm just going to let it all sink in.

REAL Review:

I finished The Croning two days ago and I am still thinking about the epic scope and terror this novel is packing.

Cosmic horror never has really scared me. Lovecraft ne
Ignacio Senao f
Tras leer los 2 primero capítulos pensé que era una recopilación de relatos ¡Pues no!, es una historia, pero su principal característica es que cada capítulo es como un relato de terror, pues tiene algo de esto.

Un juego entre pasado y presente, con un protagonista con lagunas. Hay algo en este planeta, las cosas en su casa desaparecen, y lo que desaparece son objetos peligrosos. Tienen que ser enanos, o seres de algún lugar extraño. ¿Quizás habita monstruos con eones, o es su cerebro que no rieg
If you thought Laird was a master of the short form (and he IS! !!), wait until to read this . . . His 1st novel is pitch perfect! This is one of the finest novels I've ever read.
Laird Barron can flat out tell a hell of a story. His prose is intelligent, yet not overly complex, his characterization is deep and polished; his atmosphere is dark and brooding and he knows how to quietly ratchet up the tension chapter after chapter.

The Croning is a perfect example of why I enjoy his work so much. There is beauty in the madness of this story. And believe me there is plenty of madness, as Dan and Michelle try to uncover ancient secrets and fairy tales that may just be the end o
Mi primer acercamiento al escritor Laird Barron fue a través de su relato ‘El Broadsword’, incluido en la antología ‘Alas tenebrosas: 21 nuevos cuentos de horror lovecraftiano’ (Valdemar, 2014), sin duda uno de los mejores de la misma. Así que cuando se anunció la publicación de ‘El Rito’ (The Croning, 2012), su primera novela, ya me estaba frotando las manos.

La historia de ‘El Rito’ da comienzo como si fuese un cuento, eso sí, sangriento y enfermizo, como si de un relato de Angela Carter se tra
Okayyy. *deep breath* This could be a bumpy ride ...

A number of people whose opinions I greatly respect loved The Croning. They point to its impeccable prose, its incredible imagery, and the darkness that readily gets under the reader's skin. Which is to say, they summarise The Croning as true literary horror.

And I agree with them. Precisely 25% of the way.

The first 15% of Laird Barron's first full novel drew me in expertly. Starting with the "true" version of an old fairy tale, it then moved o
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heidi Ward
The Croning is a perfectly horrible book, and I mean that in high compliment.

It's rare that a horror story actually scares me these days (and more's the pity), but Barron's first novel is wrong in all the right ways, leaving behind a caul of unease, and a wicked dose of the cosmic heebie-jeebies. (I'm thrilled to admit that when I finished it last night, I left the lights on.) Also? Un-put-downable. The Croning sustains the poisonous adrenaline level of one of Barron's short stories over almost
Aidan Fortner
First off, I hadn't read any of Barron's short fiction prior to picking up his debut novel. However, I read a rave review of "The Croning" in my favorite horror culture rag, Rue Morgue, and thought there was no way they could steer me wrong. What a naive, misguided fanboy view...

Barron's prose is dull. He relies on crude swearing and very tired cliches much too much to be interesting. His characters are rather one-dimensional and also seem cut from a cliched cloth. I'm sure he thought he was bei
Gary Cantara
I absolutely loved the opening of this book. So imagine my disappointment when the main plot began to unfold and I found myself so utterly bored, the notion of finishing the book began to seem like a terrible burden. Really, I was that bored with it. I get this story's effect depends on the accumulation of small details. And maybe if I managed to get through the first half of the book, it would snap into shape and I would understand the five star reviews here. But it was just too slow and too du ...more
Randolph Carter
4-1/2 stars; almost gave it five stars but it was a little too derivative of H.P. Lovecraft's The Whisperer in Darkness so I subtracted half a star for lack of originality in plot. That said, it's like The Whisperer in Darkness on acid and speed. Some of the amnesia/flashback is a little hard to swallow but, hey, we're dealing with the supernatural here so let's not be too picky. The ending once again reminded me of Michael Shea's The Autopsy or that movie Fallen with Denzel Washington.

Barron ge
Paul Nelson
The story starts with an anecdote on the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, telling the events that inspired the child friendly fable but this version lacks any semblance of a happy ending. In fact an altogether darker affair that develops into a tale that easily and scarily broaches modern day times and I was definitely hooked by the events of the first section.

The stories main protagonist is the geologist Donald Miller and present day he is retired, through different stages of his life the story focu
This book answers every question I ever had about the origins of the dark heart that lives in my mother's breast. It is frightening and although I really wanted to put it away in a bookshelf in a dark corner I could not. I was compelled to read and read until I finished. I read a lot of horror and am not easily frightened but Barron's story reminds you of every primal fear you had as a child and as an adult. It won't let you rest easily. The fact that it is beautifully written makes it all that ...more
May 12, 2012 Doug rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like Cosmic Horrors. Fans of Campbell, Lovecraft, and Aickman.
Shelves: horror, favorites, weird
the gist. Don Miller is a man with problems: he is uncomfortable around his children, he has grown afraid of the dark, his career floats on the periphery of being washed up, his memory is worse than ever, his wife disappears for weeks at a time on trips to who-knows-where, and things lie in wait for him in the dark of his cellar and in the woods beyond his house. Things that sometimes protect him, sometimes slither around his life, and always make him afraid. In his 80s, Don begins to finally se ...more
Elena Cvetkovska
My perception is certainly skewed by previously reading "Occultation" and "The Imago sequence" which are both masterpieces, but please bear with me. It begins with a bang, I couldn't put it down for the most of the first half but then it kind of fizzled out. It feels prematurely finished, there are many loose strands left hanging and you can't possibly feel compassion for the long-suffering Don Miller who is nothing but a puppet pulled left and right by various factions, has a few brushes with d ...more
This is a stellar book, in many senses of that word. Firmly implanting the cosmic in "cosmic horror," Laird Barron's first novel takes a number of threads started in his short stories and weaves them into a stunning gallows rope. The longer novel format gives Barron the space to lay out a deep back story and slowly simmer his nightmarish stew, as opposed to the microwave oven necessitated by the short story form.

The Croning tells the story of aged geologist Don Miller and his anthropologist wife
I just finished this earlier today, and have been turning it over in my head since. So what follows may change as I think more on it.

Also, let me preface by saying that I am a huge fan of Barron's short story collections "The Imago Sequence" and "Occultation". Barron writes in the tradition of Lovecraft, about cosmic horror, and humans trapped by powers they cannot control or even really impact. But the big difference is in style--Lovecraft's prose is all explosive adjectives and wild descriptio
I don't buy many books soon after they come out but Barron is one of those I do, being one of my favourite contemporary horror authors. I approached this with mixed feelings of excitement and trepidation, uneasy at how well Barron would adapt to writing a novel. I need not have worried.

Barron draws together, and more thoroughly elaborates on, themes he has touched upon in previous stories to deliver a more complete vision of overarching cosmic horror permeating every facet of our world and yet s
José Nebreda
Cojonuda mezcla de "noir" y "weird" ;)
Jesús Cañadas
Me lo intenté leer hace tiempo y no conecté mucho con él. Esta semana, a raíz de una antología del mismo pavo que me han regalado, lo he vuelto a abordar. Y menos mal, porque se demuestra que soy gilipollas.

El libro me ha volado la puta cabeza. Esa imagen final va a seguir conmigo mucho tiempo. El puto Barron es lo que Lovecraft podría haber sido.
Ann Schwader
For those wondering where the SF in Lovecraftian novels has gone -- look no further. A top-notch, very dark cosmic horror thriller which keeps the reader turning pages (or clicking buttons). This one has a classic Lovecraft feel without a trace of pastiche. One star off for an ending I found to be a little abrupt, but YMMV.
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Horror Aficionados : The Croning by Laird Barron 151 128 6 hours, 30 min ago  
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I spent my early years in Alaska, where I raced the Iditarod three times during the early 1990s and worked as fisherman on the Bering Sea. My youth was harsh–our family lived a hardscrabble existence on the Big Bend of the Yentna River. We subsisted by hunting, fishing, and raising huskies for competition in long distance races. I retired from racing and moved to Washington in 1994.

Gordon Van Geld
More about Laird Barron...
The Imago Sequence and Other Stories Occultation and Other Stories The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All: Stories The Light is the Darkness Year's Best Weird Fiction, Volume One

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“Ye wanna steer clear o' 'im and 'is little friends. Ye shall come to a nasty end nosin' 'bout that gent."

The Spy knew the refrain. He wondered aloud as to the nature of these little friends.

"Ain't ever seen 'em, just 'eard of 'em. Cripples and deformed ones. Some ain't got no arms or legs is what I 'ear. they crawl along behind 'im, see? Wrigglin' in the dirt all ruddy worm-like."

"He's got an entourage of folk without arms," the Spy said, raising his brows toward the brim of his cocked hat. "Or legs. Following him wherever he goes."

"Some got arms, some don't. Some got legs, some don't. Some got neither. That's what I 'ear." The farmer shrugged, made the sign of warding again, and would say no more on the matter.”
“The cold impassive stars didn't bother him so much as the gaps between them did.” 4 likes
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