MyGoodBookshelf's Reviews > The Fleshless Man

The Fleshless Man by Norman Prentiss
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Oct 07, 2012

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bookshelves: fiction, horror, netgalley-early-reads
Read from October 07 to 08, 2012

**A copy of this novella was provided to me for review via Netgalley**

To be honest, 'The Fleshless Man' has left me scratching my head a bit. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it- it was certainly a decently written tale, with some palpably oppressive atmosphere seeping through the pages and a well drawn premise- but it was much too short for me to really get a feel for what was actually happening and the ending was a bit ambiguously abrupt for my liking. Novella’s are always risky in the sense that you don’t have long to get to know the characters and establish the scene, and I think this was unfortunately the case here.

In actuality, there were some great ideas contained in this plot itself and I personally think it could have been developed to be a much longer (full-length) novel- ‘fleshed’ out a bit more if you will excuse the terrible pun!

The story revolves around Curtis, returned home to be with his estranged mother who is in the final stages of a terminal illness. Curtis’ brother Glenn has been their mother’s sole carer up until this point but has problems of his own which may allude to some more potentially serious issues. Once ensconced back in the home he always felt to be too oppressive as a child, Curtis begins having dreams of a particularly disturbing nature- of a ‘fleshless man’ who seems to be taking Curtis’ dreams down some very dark paths...

The premise of this novella, combined with a creepy nurse with a sinister bedside manner, imbued a chilling atmosphere. There’s a confusing sense of what is real and not real, which disorientates the reader. I have to say that the aspects that concentrated on the fleshless man’s origin (aboard a ship) were vividly descriptive and it is this which has made me believe the story could work better as a full-length novel. Norman Prentiss can certainly create a terrific sense of atmosphere- I just don’t think this shorter story does his writing skills justice.
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Char I'm glad to see that I'm not alone regarding my thoughts on this story.

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