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Monthly Reads > September 2019 LH Monthly read: Eric Stener Carlson's Muladonna

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message 1: by Bill (last edited Sep 05, 2019 08:30PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1172 comments Join us for the September 2019 Literary Horror monthly read: Eric Stener Carlson's Muladona!

Some reviews:

In addition to paper, Muladona is available as an e-book. Let's try to start middle of next week.

Benjamin Uminsky (benjaminu) | 340 comments Thanks Bill! I have the book. I'll start on Tuesday.

Marie-Therese (mariethrse) | 550 comments Bill wrote: "Join us for the September 2019 Literary Horror monthly read: Eric Stener Carlson's Muladona!."

Thanks, Bill! After my brief and unexpected/unwelcome hiatus (darn computers!), I'm glad to come back to such an intriguing group read. It's already on my Kindle so I shall begin reading it ASAP.

Benjamin Uminsky (benjaminu) | 340 comments Awesome!! Welcome back MT. I just pulled this one down from my shelf. I will begin it this evening.

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1172 comments I'm about nine (short) chapters in. Very leisurely pace, and the folksy narration is reasonably engaging. (I thought Carlos' storytelling voice was rather clunky though.) I assume this will speed up.

Benjamin Uminsky (benjaminu) | 340 comments I'm a little further along than you... the chapters seem to be pretty short. Its interesting as to the progression of Verge's life... it seems that his childhood is full of little more than abandonment.

I found the scene between Verge's father and Carolina's father (Carlos) to be poignantly cruel... and certainly purposeful... seems to portend a certain forced abandonment on Verge by his father.

I think there is definitely some meaningful commentary here by the author regarding strict/rigid practice of religion. A real irony and paradox here. Pastor Stromberg seems to be the very embodiment of malevolence that he is preaching against.

I do like the pacing... and also the inclusion of folk tale into this narrative. Certainly a clash between Christianity and more folksy religion.

Marie-Therese (mariethrse) | 550 comments Well heck! I just typed up something and my damn browser closed on me and lost the whole thing! Grrr!

In any case... I believe I am a bit behind the two of you at about 5% in and Chapter Four.

I'm really enjoying the mythic quality of this story so far. These early, almost idyllic chapters remind me a bit of 'Le Grand Meaulnes' but I don't expect that will last. Like Bill, I did initially find Carlos dialect too folksy and a bit distracting but, either I got used to it or Carlson toned it down, because I didn't notice it as he deepened his story. I'm finding the head-butting between the two pastors fascinating (kind of an Ingmar Bergman thing there) and I'm looking forward to seeing how puritanical 19th century Scandinavian mores fare in the Texan back of beyond.

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1172 comments Besides Benjamin, Marie-Therese and myself, I see a few other LH members are reading Muladona. What chapters are you guys at? I'm stopped just shy of Muladona's second story. If I'm a bit ahead, I'll take a break to synchronize.

Benjamin Uminsky (benjaminu) | 340 comments I am through the first story... not quite to the second. I really like the concept of this novel... a bit akin to the Arabian nights collection... but what is novel here is that all these mini stories are interconnected and intended to provide enough clues to reveal the true identity of the Muladona... It’s a bit of a puzzle for the reader...

message 10: by Conor (last edited Sep 16, 2019 07:43AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Conor (conschobhar) | 6 comments I'm on chapter 6. I love historical, coming of age horror - so far this is scratching that itch. I had the same issues with Carlos' voice as all of you. I wasn't sure about the writing at first, as it reads pretty simplistic, but it's growing on me rapidly. The story however, arleady feels pretty layered and I'm interested to see where it goes.

Benjamin Uminsky (benjaminu) | 340 comments How is everyone doing with this? I am now through the 3rd Muladona story. After 3 of these stories, which I find really engaging, I have found a few patterns that exist in each three... perhaps something that may clue us into who the Muladona is. I won't say who I think it is... as I don't want to unduly influence anyone's thinking on this.

Marie-Therese (mariethrse) | 550 comments I'm only 20% in and beginning the first Muladona story. I have a hunch who the Muladona may be and I rather hope it's not the case as that conclusion seems too pat. We'll see, I guess.

message 13: by Bill (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1172 comments I'm right before the fourth story. I'm entertained so far. But I'm very picky about voices, and am not a fan of the boy's or the mule's.

Benjamin Uminsky (benjaminu) | 340 comments What is it about the boy's voice, Bill? It strikes me as adolescent sounding ( I think the kid is currently in his early teens... no?)... at least compared to some of the other adult characters.

The mule is well... yeah... I can't say I care for how it is actually written on paper with an attempt to sound out the dialogue. I thought it sufficient for Carlson to simply describe the voice initially without actually sounding out the dialogue.

I just started the 4th story.

Conor (conschobhar) | 6 comments I finished the 3rd tale. I am enjoying the Tales more the the main story at this point. I'm having fun with this, but it reads a little hokey at times (I guess that should be expected from such a young narrator).

message 16: by Bill (last edited Sep 21, 2019 06:16PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1172 comments Benjamin wrote: "What is it about the boy's voice, Bill?"

(In group reads, I try to focus on the aspects of the book that I do enjoy, so I don't potentially discourage group members who are considering the book.)

I can quote specific sentences. I also think it can be tighter, and would work better (and be easier to pull off) as a 3rd person narrative.

message 17: by Jill (new)

Jill (ninjypants) | 33 comments I owe you guys an apology for not having started this yet. I’m set for trial 10/1 and it’s taken over my life for the next few weeks. I did buy this so I will get to it but barring a miracle it won’t be this month. I really am sorry! I’d much rather be reading, haha.

message 18: by Bill (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1172 comments Jill wrote: "I owe you guys an apology for not having started this yet. I’m set for trial 10/1..."
Sorry to hear about the legal distractions, Jill! Hope the trial goes smoothly for you...

message 19: by Bill (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1172 comments So how's everyone doing on Muladonna? Hope I didn't turn people away with a grumpy remark...

Benjamin Uminsky (benjaminu) | 340 comments Honestly... I'm not quite sure how to engage in this discussion. The book is structured as a mystery and I certainly didn't want to give away the mystery by making the wrong kind of remark or observation.


I am almost done and have enjoyed much of it... save for a few things here or there that I have noticed but have not allowed to bother me.

Benjamin Uminsky (benjaminu) | 340 comments Finished this one last night. Aside from having a bit of a YA'ish feel to it at different points in the book... I really enjoyed the narrative structure and found the story to be pretty compelling.

I think my favorite Muladona story was the 6th one.

I don't think I have much else to contribute until folks are done with this one.

message 22: by Bill (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1172 comments It's almost October! Please nominate books for our October monthly read here:

message 23: by Bill (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1172 comments The poll for our October Monthly Read is up!

Please vote only if you're committed to participating if your pick wins. Thanks!

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