Nicholas Karpuk's Reviews > Stranger Will

Stranger Will by Caleb J. Ross
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's review
Jun 24, 2011

really liked it
Read from June 10 to 24, 2011

Though it doesn't appear promoted as such, to me Stranger Will is the most upsetting sort of horror story. The monster is a school principal with a notion of learning that owes a lot to eugenics and a really intense sort of Darwinism.

I'm not sure I've ever encountered a protagonist as disturbingly pessimistic as William. His bleak perspective pervades the very fiber of the story. This book presents a worldview where children are a necessary casualty in the disturbing games of adults. If you have an aversions to the deaths of children or infants, you should probably stay the hell away from this book.

It's fitting that I read this book in tandem with Kafka, because it possess some of the same surrealist traits. All the actions are clear, I was never at a loss as to what was happening, but character motivations were bizarre and at times barely relatable, which just made it more disturbing. Most people do not pull out a gun when they're having difficulty driving their car. Most people do not set a pigeon on fire and let it run around the room on flames. Most people do not coat a tree in dangerous chemicals to teach children lessons.

It's a beautifully written book, and I now feel slightly traumatized.
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