Sean Barrs the Bookdragon's Reviews > The Rats in the Walls

The Rats in the Walls by H.P. Lovecraft
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really liked it
bookshelves: 4-star-reads, darkness-horror-gothic, short-stories

Lovecraft is a very precise writer. Even though his stories are relatively short, they are often quite slow and drawn out. This isn’t a bad thing, he usually waits until the very last moment to reveal the horrors lurking within his world.

He slowly, very slowly, peels back the layers: he is the master of suspense. Unlike Poe or Stoker, he chooses his moment most carefully. And for me, that makes his story telling so superb. He is the kind of writer you read on a cold and dark wintering night with your house illuminated only by candle light. The atmosphere is eerily fantastic and his stories are really quite haunting.

This one, as the name suggests, is about rats. I’ve never found rats scary, in fact, I think they’re quite cute. I laughed out loud when I read James Herbert’s attempt at demonising the little fluff balls in his novel The Rats. The point is, rats just aren’t that scary. They’re nice animals really, we’ve just given them a bad reputation. Unless they’re ethereal rats that haunt an old Priory that has long since been abandoned, like Lovecraft’s rats, then they are just not very convincing terrors.

Like all good pieces of horror fiction, the physical torment is the lesser half of the canvas. Where true horror comes from is mental anguish such as pain, desperation and stress caused by a lack of understanding about the events. We are not supposed to understand horrors, that’s what makes them so horrific. Lovecraft’s victims are perplexed and confused by the things they encounter as they question the rules of reality itself. And here Lovecraft delivers that masterfully as they try to find these rats that don't really exist.

So this is a very good piece of horror writing from the master himself.
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Reading Progress

August 7, 2018 – Started Reading
August 7, 2018 – Shelved
August 7, 2018 – Shelved as: 4-star-reads
August 7, 2018 – Shelved as: darkness-horror-gothic
August 7, 2018 – Shelved as: short-stories
August 7, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Rose (new)

Rose Tezanos Excellent review! I’ll be sure to check it out.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Rose wrote: "Excellent review! I’ll be sure to check it out."

thank you :D Enjoy!


message 3: by Karl (new)

Karl Arney I wouldn't say the story is really about rats, they're ultimately just a means to get the narrator to the really twisted stuff.


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