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Dark Property

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  172 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
A woman carries a dying baby across a desert waste, moving toward a fortress harboring a mysterious resurrection cult. Menaced by scavengers, she nevertheless begins to suspect that the reality within the fortress may be even more unsettling than the blasted environment outside. As she slips unobtrusively towards the city of the dead, she is pursued by a bounty hunter who
Paperback, 132 pages
Published November 6th 2002 by Thunder's Mouth Press (first published November 5th 2002)
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Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Even those brave readers familiar with Brian Evenson's often-macabre work will discover new depths of shadow in the pages of Dark Property. This may well be his most chilling book to date - not in the sense of stock horror, but as a more sophisticated frisson, an existential mix of confusion, anticipation, and stark cruelty.

The narrative follows a cadre of ruthless loners across a post-apocalyptic wasteland as they seek to possess and dominate one another's most cherished properties: their bodie
Dec 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird-trippy
This is the story of a woman and a man. The woman is traveling through a bleak and disturbing setting. The man is purposeful and determined. I cannot say anything more about this book, as doing so would give too much away. I bought my copy without reading a single blurb but I am a huge fan of the author's and am confident in forever doing so.

Evenson makes me awestruck. His writing is as if from another time, at least so far as Dark Property is concerned. The story was surreal and painful to rea
Mar 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how, but I'd somehow missed this one despite being told that it was not to be missed by more than one fellow Evenson fan. (Happy to report that I've since rectified the problem.) The language used in this short but intense book is quite archaic and creates a very interesting effect. Evenson has said in one of his interviews that he was resurrecting words and expressions that had long been out of use, and indeed there are many strange phrases throughout. This just adds to the sense o ...more
David Peak
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Not sure I entirely understood what was going on, or what was meant by what was going on, but the language here is Evenson at his absolute best.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What do you say when a book is a book like you've never seen before? Any comparison as metaphor will be too hollow, any author connection not loud enough. This is an incredible book. This book does everything with language. This book is a book to make other books cower.
Brent Legault
Oct 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: school marms, house husbands
In Dark Property, Brian Evenson invents a world where violent acts are not only second nature to the people in it, but they are their first thought. Violence replaces good manners. Whereas in our world two people meeting for the first time might shake hands or exchange kisses, Evenson's people stab and bludgeon each other, steal from each other, take fleshy trophies and more often than not, make meals of one another. The violence, as depicted by Evenson, is not sensational. It is work-a-day viol ...more
Kyle Muntz
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Probably Evenson's most unrelentingly brutal book. The whole thing is uniformly bleak, cruel, with eventual hints of occultism. (Which is probably where there have been so many comparisons to the Road even if this book is technically older.) Evenson's absurdist dialogue and vertiginous landscapes are in full force, but what especially surprised me was how stylized this book is. The geography of the sentences reminded me a little of Dhalgren-era Delany, maybe the clipped sentences Joyce used in U ...more
Evenson’s Dark Property is described as post-apocalyptic but it is one of the abstract and bizarre examples of said genre pushed into a new category. A linguistic journey like Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (its been wondered if this was an influence on The Road, which if it wasn’t a trunk novel is possible) and Gene Wolfe’s New Sun books, but its descriptions odd rituals, strange behaviors, and odd dialogues brings it closer to Beckett, with some twitching monstrosities worthy of Brothers Qu ...more
Ryan Chapman
Jul 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I may give this book five stars in the future, but I need more time to fully understand what I've read. This is so out of my normal range of literary fiction, I feel a bit lost. What I can say: this book is approaching language in intriguing ways.

Let's say your novel's set in some vague apocalyptic landscape. All of the usual signifiers of country, colloquialism, and culture are gone. What is to constitute your third-person voice? You could go the biblical route, a la Cormac McCarthy in The Road
Mark Desrosiers
Oct 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I think I let this slip off my lap in the bus aisle once during a soused post-gig bus trip, and a kindly gent handed it back to me: "hey HEY, keep your LITTrature on your person!" [laugh]. This was a squalorous time for me, and I think the squalid book and I just kept mocking each other until I was saved by a Mother's Day Butchies gig at the Dinkytowner a couple weeks later (but then I was almost killed by some bus tires later that night).

I should probably reread it.
Nov 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopia, apocolyptic
The answer to the unasked question "what would you get if you merged Cormac McCarthy, Samuel Beckett, and The Brother's Quay?"
Adam Rodenberger
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magical-realism
I got turned on to Evenson's work via his short story collection "Fugue State," which I really enjoyed. It was dark, it was well written, and kept me thoroughly engaged throughout.

"Dark Property," however, is a different animal altogether. One can only compare it to the darkest parts of Cormac McCarthy's oeuvre, both in use of sparse language and intentionally incorrect words whose intentional meaning is immediately obvious. A quick read at just 134 pages, I first believed the story to be about
Feb 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the authors writing style and use of language.It was really just amazing to read his style of writing.However, I did not feel much for the story.Maybe there was too much violence and things that were meant to purposely make you feel something.It felt too forced, too much of a desire for shock value. That for me, lead me to just go unfazed and then just me wanting to know the setting or the background to this book. I understood there would be a lot of violence, and a apocalypse theme, a ...more
Oct 27, 2011 rated it liked it
A short novel. I admire the prose. I would find it difficult to sustain more than a few pages of this style, let alone write an entire novel in it, plus do it with a consistent theme. The story/plot here is sparse, and not all that interesting. It's really about the prose. Not even sure I liked the style that much, but couldn't help being impressed by it. It taught me something too: that the hyper-descriptive-overload-of-adjectives-and-adverbs style actually has the opposite effect in that it al ...more
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I mean, this wasn't even my favorite Brian Evenson book, but the guy's a faultless horror stylist. Detailed dissections, severed limbs/toes, something like 4 strangulations, baby-eating, and at least one occurrence of the word "Gloam". Evenson's talent is to shelve away interiority in favor of intricately detailed action, slight dialogue, and insanely esoteric verbiage (at least five trips to the dictionary came up empty - APTOTE?!).

Seriously, like ZERO interiority, it's pretty impressive. Any
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wild, disquieting, and riveting.

Cormac McCarthy’s typewriter blacks out after ingesting copious amounts of unspecified hallucinogens and wakes up with a tattoo across its splintered, plastic knuckles that reads, “Dark Property.” (Note that I am aware how many letters make up the phrase “Dark Property.” Typewriter physiology does not parallel that of humans.)

Comparisons to the Road are somewhat inevitable but are ultimately of little real value as the books are hardly comparable save for superfic
Apr 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Brian Evenson loves his prose and wants you to know about it. He delights in awkward wordplay in the attempt to create clever obfuscations, force interpretations, and perpetuate cloudy confusions. Most of the time it works very well, occasionally it seems forced but even when it doesn't it always seems pretentious as all hell.

That said, this is some creepy, creepy stuff. Gory and unsettling, with descriptions that bore into your consciousness. His work is surgically detailed and often stomach ch
Charles Dee Mitchell
Jun 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: contemporary-lit
I'm missing something here. Readers enthuse about Evenson's prose, but I found this unreadable and stopped halfway through. I have learned from other reviewers that Evenson wanted to resurrect archaic language and words, but I just found the syntax peculiar and the words often seemed like those you would like have handy when playing Scrabble. Then there are the untranslated epigraphs from Heidegger, although I guess Google can take care of that now. But the blurb from Gilles Deleuze is ridiculou ...more
Mar 22, 2008 rated it liked it
So, this was written years before "The Road" and tackles similar terrain, post-fallout nameless main character navigating charred terrain, etc. But this goes deeper into the violence and blood and dark, and has more characters, more story to it, and ends up being a kind of dark fable. I like Brian Evenson's writing a lot, its clipped, verbose, dark, and makes me feel uncomfortable. The imagery is disturbing and the pace is quick.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
Take a poorly fleshed out story and then, on rewrite, get out your thesaurus to replace every 5th word with a never-used sort-of synonym just to give the story even less meaning. Writing shouldn't be about finding the most obscure words or the most complicated words. It should be about finding the right words. Besides, this book was so graphically violent and dirty I felt like scrubbing myself with bleach afterwards.
Dec 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Bleak, violent, surreal, and so so good. You learn to speak and comprehend a new language specifically designed to describe violence, kinda like *A Clockwork Orange*. Evenson is a writer that people should become familiar with.
Aug 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Blank Villains
A chilling little mystery of a book a hundred times better than McCarthy's "The Road" in a fraction of the space. Equal parts Poe and Matthew Barney (even though I don't really like M. Barney). Great book despite the easy criticism that it might be gratuitously violent.
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Incredibly violent and disturbing--even compared to other Evenson books. Very influenced by Cormac McCarthy. Not much Mormon stuff in this one.
Oct 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who wants a peek into what a former mormon can do with langauge and imagery
holy crap. what darkness. i'm going to take an aspirin and read it again.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Wish I'd read the first few pages on Amazon. Would've saved money and learned all I need to know about this monotonous experiment.
Richard Chiem
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
one of my favorite novels
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sometimes I think Brian Evenson is border-line pretentious garbage, but he always manages to win me over. This is ghastly, exhilarating stuff.
Donald Armfield
May 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-weird
Brian Evenson is one of my favorite authors his story here is a wordplay spectacular with a very detailed horror blood splatter.
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A better version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road--with creepy post-apocalyptic MORMONS! And it was written FIVE years before McCarthy's book..I smell a lawsuit...
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
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