Ioana's Reviews > Nothing But the Night

Nothing But the Night by John  Blackburn
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really liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi, cults, fiction, horror, english, noir, favorite-headtrips

A truly bizarre, gritty-noir "rediscovered" little book worthy of a cult following. Bravo, Valancourt Books!

In order to convey the oddness and off-the-beaten-path nature of this work, it's necessary to explain why I even have it in my possession. I mean, it only has 12 ratings and 2 total reviews on Goodreads - not something I'd usually consider picking up. So, it all started with taking a chance on an Amazon recommendation of a "rediscovered classic" - The Elementals by Michael McDowell, and being intrigued by the actual edition I received - a new Valancourt run (it was such a beautiful book - one of those you love to hold in your hands and smell and just play with between your fingers as you read, and, of course, a good but totally strange story).

Now, I'm a book snob, and the publishing house matters. But that doesn't mean I discount those I've never heard of - I just had to do a bit of research into Valancourt. I found myself impressed by their mission to hunt down and republish literary horror/sci-fi/fantasy works that have sadly been lost to time, and like I said, I loved the care and quality of the physical book. I even contacted them directly to buy some books up for sale on their website--they got back to me right away and were very nice and professional.

So Nothing but the Night was delivered to my doorstep a few days later, along with a bunch of other McDowells. And, whoa, is it ODD. And I don't mean just the plot. The plot is strange, sure, and includes bit of quaint, outdated sci-fi, but it's more than that: it's the entire atmosphere and language, which seems to convey a ... Lynchian off-ness. I'm a bit at a loss for how to qualify this strangeness, other than drawing the analogy that this book is to mainstream horror what Twin Peaks is to mainstream detective shows.

A summary won't really do the book justice, and a true summary would give too much away, but in short: there's a little girl in a hospital with puzzling symptoms, connected to a fellowship of rich philanthropists who run a home for abandoned children. Some of these rich people die in suspicious accidents. The little girl's mother, a triple murderer released from prison, visits her daughter in the hospital, and the attendant physician is later found with a hat-pin through his skull. The investigation takes off, and the resolution isn't at all what you may imagine.

Absolutely recommend it if you're craving a chilling, gritty, dark, suspenseful "what the heck did I just read" type of book.
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Reading Progress

December 10, 2015 – Started Reading
December 10, 2015 – Shelved
December 12, 2015 – Shelved as: sci-fi
December 12, 2015 – Shelved as: cults
December 12, 2015 – Shelved as: fiction
December 12, 2015 – Shelved as: horror
December 12, 2015 – Shelved as: english
December 12, 2015 – Shelved as: noir
December 12, 2015 – Finished Reading
December 31, 2015 – Shelved as: favorite-headtrips

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message 1: by John (new) - added it

John Arnold i looked up this title because i am watching the movie and it said, "from the novel by..."

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