Richard Wright's Reviews > The Grin of the Dark

The Grin of the Dark by Ramsey Campbell
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's review
Dec 30, 2008

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Read in December, 2008

As ever, Campbell's fiction is not about in-your-face scares, but growing disquiet, the slow build rather than the instant pay off. It starts gently, creeping along, making strange suggestions to you, carefully piling oddity onto oddity until you finish. It left me feeling off-kilter, although the downside is that the nebulous shapes Campbell creates at the edge of your vision never quite take form. The first person account that is the story doesn't benefit from this, because as things progress, reality warps for him, making him an unreliable narrator. How much of what transpires is supernatural phenomenon and how much is Simon Lester's psychological breakdown is up in the air. While I have no problem with a novel raising questions, I like the occasional answer, or at least pointer, to go with them. A challenging read, impressively executed, but I was left wanting by the end.
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