Isabel (kittiwake)'s Reviews > At the Mountains of Madness

At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Dec 17, 11

liked it
Read from November 28 to 30, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I have been listening to the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcraft s it works through Lovecraft's stories in chronological order. I started off reading the stories on my iPod but decide that I didn't like reading the longer stories that way, so I bought a three volume Omnibus of his stories, and now it is only the ghost-written stories he wrote for other people that I need to read on-line. I started listening to the podcast in October 2010 from the first episode, and had caught up with the early episodes by the first week of January 2011. I have been reading each story before listening to the podcast episode(s) about it, and the podcast has now reached the point that I have read all the stories in Volume 1 of the Omnibus, so I can finally review one oft he volumes.

Then through that star-specked darkness there did come a normal sound. It rolled from the higher hills, and from all the jagged peaks around it was caught up and echoed in a swelling pandaemoniac chorus. It was the midnight yell of the cat, and Carter knew at last that the old village folk were right when they made low guesses about the cryptical realms which are known only to cats, and to which the elders among cats repair by stealth nocturnally, springing from high housetops. Verily, it is to the moon's dark side that they go to leap and gambol on the hills and converse with ancient shadows, and here amidst that column of foetid things Carter heard their homely, friendly cry, and thought of the steep roofs and warm hearths and little lighted windows of home.
from The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

This book contains Lovecraft's three short novels, "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath", "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" and "At the Mountains of Madness", plus four short stories, three of them featuring Randolph Carter, the hero of the Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath". The other is a rather unpleasant story called "The Dreams in the Witch House" ?.

Unlike most of Lovecraft's protagonists, Randolph Carter is a born adventurer and tends not to faint in the face of unnameable horrors! On a journey through the dreamlands in search of the lost city that he used to visit in his dreams, he makes friends with the ghouls, and his kindness to small kittens is rewarded when the heroic band of cats who spend their nights on the moon battling evil alien cats, rescue him from the toad-things which have captured him. This isn't the only story in which cats play a big part, and Lovecraft is obviously a cat-lover, mentioning in "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" that "Inquanok holds shadows which no cat can endure, so that in all that cold twilight realm there is never a cheering purr or a homely mew."

"The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" rambles about and has frequent longeurs, as it was Lovecraft's first attempt at a novel and it's thought that he didn't intend it to be published, but I still preferred it to "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" which has an annoyingly oblivious protagonist heading to an obvious doom (as does "The Dreams in the Witch House"). "At the Mountains of Madness", the last of Lovecraft's three novels, is an exciting tale of Antarctic adventure, complete with huskies and a lost civilisation. Lovecraft liked to use British English spellings and got really annoyed when his editors changed them, and I noticed that he uses the British "torch" rather than the American "flashlight" in several stories (the protagonists mention worrying about running out of batteries, so it's clear that it is referring to electric torches rather than naked flames).

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read At the Mountains of Madness.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.