Forrest's Reviews > X's For Eyes

X's For Eyes by Laird Barron
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's review
May 20, 2017

it was amazing

If you, like me, graduated from children's books to Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Archie Comics, then "grew up" into more adult fare, including the work of, say, Laird Barron; if you've given up hooded hawks and double jinx's and replaced them with existential darkness and horrors that await us all, then maybe it's time for you to take a trip into the void between the stars and rethink your notions of causality.

Because it's all going to come back to you. Everything at once, in an extra-dimensional loop of a plot that draws in all your memories of the boy detectives, the debauchery of your college years, the super science of venture brothers, and your favorite eldritch deities. But you'll have to abandon any notions of "then" and "now". Most of all, you're going to have to let go of your notions regarding what is a Laird Barron story. All the right elements are there: desperation, brooding threats, and sharp humor, all wrapped up in exquisite prose. The ingredients are all the same. But the proportions are different, contrasting with most of Barron's other work. Here, you'll find that the dark philosophical elements you are used to being in the forefront are used to accentuate, rather than saturate the taste of this novella. And humor - you've seen it peek out from the corners of Barron's work, but in this case, it's standing right in front of you, staring you in the face. It's horrific, no doubt, and only those who share a grim sense of humor will appreciate it, but if you want sardonic, boy howdy, you got it! One of the primary elements here is corruption: You'll read about a ten and twelve year old boy doing things you thought biologically impossible, which has its own . . . er . . . charm? Squicky charm? Okay, I give up, it's just plain squicky. But charming. No. Wait. Don't go! Hear me out!

If you're a fan of Venture Brothers, as I am, and a fan of Lovecraftian horrors, which I also am, you can't go wrong with X's For Eyes. But where VB steps off into the ridiculous, Barron's boys take a left turn into a serious warping of reality that reveals a certain kind of "coming of age" story. Sort of. From a certain point of view. A point of view that is as twisted and grim and hopeful in a fatalistic sort of way as you can't imagine. Because you can't imagine it until you've read this novella.

So what are you waiting for? No, wait, don't tell me. I know already. Because I saw it before you said it, even though you said it after I asked the question. Laws of causality be damned.
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Reading Progress

January 8, 2017 – Shelved
January 8, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
May 11, 2017 – Started Reading
May 11, 2017 –
page 8
10.0% "So far so good. Quick pacing, quirky voice, and a whole lot of weirdness. Crashed spaceships and hints of eldritch horror, too. What's not to like?"
May 12, 2017 –
page 16
20.0% "Stepan Chapman meets Buckaroo Banzai while Ramsey Campbell peeps around the corner, giggling at the most corrupt Hardy Boys that never existed."
May 12, 2017 –
page 37
46.25% "Azathoth/Scooby Doo/mockery of Lovecraft/super science/Indiana Jones/Venture Brothers etc, etc, etc."
May 20, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Jenny (Reading Envy) Nancy Drew to Laird Barron is a big jump. :D

Forrest Jenny (Reading Envy) wrote: "Nancy Drew to Laird Barron is a big jump. :D"

A leap across a deep dark chasm from innocence to existentialism.

Bill Great review, you really nailed it! If I hadn't already devoured the novella I'd have to pick it up after that review!

Forrest Bill wrote: "Great review, you really nailed it! If I hadn't already devoured the novella I'd have to pick it up after that review!"

Thanks, Bill!

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