I've read all the stories in this collection (save for one) in The Dunwich Horror back in November 2009, though I have not yet read this particular co...moreI've read all the stories in this collection (save for one) in The Dunwich Horror back in November 2009, though I have not yet read this particular collection. I've rated it, though, as I adored The Dunwich Horror and am so glad that my favorite stories are in this collection - particularly "The Whisperer in Darkness", the first Lovecraft story I ever read. Will be a bedside staple for a long time to come.(less)
A fun little book, and an excellent introduction to Agatha Christie.
There's not much to say on this one; it's a classic "who done it?" scenario. A man...moreA fun little book, and an excellent introduction to Agatha Christie.
There's not much to say on this one; it's a classic "who done it?" scenario. A man is murdered on a snowbound train. It would seem that none of the passengers would have a motive for killing the man, a group of 12 strangers, but as per usual in murder mysteries, the funny little man with the fantastic mustache figures it all out in the end.
I must say, I really had no idea who did done it. I was thinking perhaps the Hungarian fellow and Ms. Debenham, but in the end... I won't say exactly, but there is neat little a twist.(less)
This book starts off with the reader becoming increasingly intrigued with the mental institution on Shutter Island, Ashcliffe Hospital for the Crimina...moreThis book starts off with the reader becoming increasingly intrigued with the mental institution on Shutter Island, Ashcliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
So few patients, so many people to take care of them. The lighthouse that is under armed guard. The riddles that seem to form a path for U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule to solve - a patient (Rachel Solando) lose on the island who escaped from a room locked from the outside, a sixty-seventh patient in an institution that only houses sixy-six, a man that committed a personal wrong to Teddy (Andrew Laeddis) being a patient of the institution. All of these things, and more, add up to prove that dark secrets are being kept under the old roofs of Ashcliffe.
Things quickly go pear-shaped, however. Soon after Chuck's disappearance, the staff of the institution deny that Teddy had a partner at all, that he came to the island alone. Pushed to his breaking point, realization dawns.
Teddy is Laeddis. The missing woman is a mental configuration made by Teddy/Laeddis to represent his wife who killed their three children. And Laeddis, in turn, killed his wife Dolores Chanal (Rachel Solando) because he could not stand that if he had only opened his eyes a bit wider to see that Dolores was not okay, that her manic depression was not something that could simply be flicked off like a light switch, his children would have been spared untimely and frightening deaths. Thus, he concocts a second reality in which Dolores was murdered by a strange man, named Laeddis, and they never had children, and he, Teddy, was still a Marshal and just a sad broken shell of a man who missed his wife and would give anything to have her back.
EDWARD DANIELS = ANDREW LAEDDIS RACHEL SOLANDO = DOLORES CHANAL
(delusions on the left, real on the right)
The entire situation, Teddy and Chuck - who is really a psychiatrist at the institution, Dr. Sheehan - being shown around the island to find the missing woman and stumbling across secrets about the inner-workings of the hospital, was all Teddy's delusional fantasy being played out in the flesh. The doctor's reckoned that if Laeddis were to actually live out his fantasy, he would realize who he really was, what his wife did, and what he did as a result of that. Kind of a "wtf?!" moment; doctors letting a dangerous psychotic patient have basically free-range of an island so he can gain some "truth" seems a bit far off. But then again, this takes place in the 50's, and a lot about that era was a bit off.
This was kind of a compromise on Dr. Cawley's part. If he could put on this play and make Teddy realize who he was and what happened, he could be rehabilitated and sent off (I presume) back to the real world. If he couldn't be helped, and insisted that he was Teddy Daniels, not Andrew Laeddis, that his wife was murdered by a stranger, and that he and his wife never even had children, he would have a radical surgery - a transorbital lobotomy. At the end of the book, a day after Teddy does come to realization of what he did (though this has happened before and he relapsed into his old delusional ways eventually), he is approached by orderlies holding "a while bundle, some sort of fabric, Teddy thinking he might have spied some metal on it as the orderly unrolled it and it caught the sun." He also refers to Dr. Sheehan as Chuck. No doubt the orderly was holding a straitjacket. Teddy relapsed, forgets what he remembered, and surgery is imminent.
The sane think they're crazy, the crazy think they're sane.
It was interesting, after realizing that Teddy and Laeddis were one in the same and that patient sixty-seven was Teddy/Andrew (though I suspected this was the case, but not that Teddy was Laeddis), to look back on past events, particularly Teddy's first day on the island and being shown around, his meeting with Noyce and his interactions with Chuck. To see how Teddy's fantasy looked from the perspective of the "real" people, like Chuck (Sheehan), Cawley, and the orderlies, and how the truth, once it's known, could be gleaned from the encounters and experiences that were a part of Teddy's second reality (such as how he thought such radical things - things beyond the "normal" radical of a mental institution were going on in the institution, being a part of his delusion).
Over all, an enjoyable good read, one that keeps you reading to find out the answers to all the "what does that mean?" questions brought up during the first half of the book. An interesting look into the delusional mind, and the fine gauze that can separate reality and "reality" in the addled mind.(less)
**spoiler alert** While the book had interesting concepts of loss, remorse, and longing, I don't quite think the author presented them in the best or...more**spoiler alert** While the book had interesting concepts of loss, remorse, and longing, I don't quite think the author presented them in the best or most concise manner. There were many instances where I thought I could see where the sentence was going, but would be let down when Hay took an unexpected (and most often not good) course. Overflowing with purple prose and "smart" "philosophical" statements, it became a bit tedious to read. What kept me going was the relationship between Rosemary and Walter Geist. Awkward yet warming, I wanted their relationship to flourish, but apparently the author felt it pertinent for Rosemary to be smitten with no-personality Oscar (seriously, he's gorgeous and has golden eyes, but he is a DOUCHE) and leave little in the way for Rosemary and Geist. I just wish that the sex scene (if it can even be called that) between the two aforementioned characters was more passionate - as it was when Geist was touching Rosemary - than awkward. I wish that the author would have written more, rather than implied, how much Rosemary and Geist meant to each other, their longing to be with - if not each other - someone. But no, we're stuck with Rosemary lusting after the tool Oscar, going against her word to Geist in order to please him. It got very old very fast. At least this book got me interested in Melville, which I plan to explore more about in the future. Also, and this was most definitely a device of the author, I really want to know who sent the letter concerning the lost Melville manuscript to Geist! Maybe it's best to have left that up to interpretation,one of the few good things about this book.(less)