Chris's Reviews > The Association

The Association by Bentley Little
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Jul 31, 2007

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bookshelves: horror
Read in August, 2007

This is, and I don't want to mince words here, a profoundly dumb book.

Some plot points include indentured servitude, an armless, legless character named "Stumpy," and the hero is at one point saved by virture of another character wearing a bathrobe. There are times while I was reading this book that I simply had to laugh out loud at the implausability of the damn thing.

The Association isn't going to take home any literary honors... and yet... it's a damn fine horror novel.

Horror as a genre works best when it seizes on a fear that we have, be it consciously or not, and milks it for all its worth. Think of Bram Stoker's Dracula which, at various times, uses sexual iconography to intensify the Count's dread. Uptight Victorians were really freaked out about sex, and Stoker used that in his story.

Bentley Little does the same thing in The Association to great effect. The idea that the novel pivots on, gated communities- people have such mixed feeings about them. On the one hand, they want the safety, the luxury, the decadance. On the other hand, what are they giving up to have those things? A guard at the gate may keep out burglers, but what else is it keeping out? And what's it keeping in? Great, rich material for horror.

It helps that Little is such an able writer- clearly the progeny of Stephen King, his prose is light and unforced and his characters are engaging... even when they're doing things that are just absolutely nonsensical.

...so no, this isn't a great book in the sense that it would be put on the shelf next to your Phillip Roths and your Gore Vidals. At times, it's downright trashy and you might feel a bit embarrassed that you're turnin' the pages on something like The Association.

That doesn't mean it isn't a lot of fun to read.
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02/06 marked as: read

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