Tom Mueller's Reviews > A Dark Matter

A Dark Matter by Peter Straub
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's review
Feb 08, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, psycho-thriller
Read in March, 2010

I have a hold on this title at my library; looking forward to what promises to be a blast from the past! See a cool review of A Dark Matter here:

Refer to Peter Straub's A Dark Matter, p. 244. Also Agrippa Cornelius' Three Books Of Occult Philosophy.
This was a little hard to get into, but intrigued me after the first few chapters. I'm glad I stuck it out.
The plot revolves around an incident that happened in the 1960s, as told years later (feels like the late 20th Century?). The incident was a sort of conjuring of demons from the 'other side', primarily at the hand of a 1960s guru/con man named Spencer Mallon. Mallon out does himself in what comes through, but he escapes. Not all do. One teen - with psychopathic tendencies - is killed by a demon, one is relegated to the depths of novels he has read, one continues to be a professional thief (who later redeems himself), and one goes blind years later, caused by the event.
Lee (aka the Eel), gradually went blind, but during the event she had insight into the past and future, along with the present. She has a conversation with THE demon, during which she comes to the conclusion: "So the Great Mystery and the Final Secret is that we cannot tolerate the Great Mystery and the Final Secret." That may be why she becomes physically blinded, all the while 'seeing' more than any others.
Straub's character dev. excels. Hootie, having been psychologically traumatized by his encounter with beings from the 'other side', speaks only in quotes. For decades, his quotes only The Scarlet Letter, but later expands from that work. Amazing is the fact that he can carry on intelligent conversations with his method. He has instant and total recall of every book he has ever read, yet spend decades in an institution.
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