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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Nocturnes - John Connolly

Read for the RIP III Reading Challenge.

My only prior experience with John Connolly’s work was his novel The Book of Lost Things. That book definitely has some dark overtones, but the stories in Nocturnes make it look full of sweetness and light in comparison.

The stories all have some level of creep to them, and each has a small drawing on the proceeding page that captures a little bit of the story. It’s actually interesting to look at the picture after reading the following story, as it’s often more meaningful looking back.

As I said before, my only prior experience with Connolly was The Book of Lost Things. From that, I knew he was Irish. What I didn’t know is that he’s written a number of novels about PI Charlie Parker, which are actually set in my home state, and to varying degrees, in my home town. The first hint of this I got was in the story “The Furnace Room”. While it’s never mentioned where the story is actually set, it was clear from the very beginning that he was describing the waterfront in Portland. I can only say that I’m rather relieved that while I do know the general area where the main action takes place, he didn’t choose an obviously existing building to house the furnace room. I’m not sure I’d be able to look at such a building the same way ever again if it were real.

What finally sent me online to read up on Connolly was the “The Reflecting Eye: A Charlie Parker Novella”. This time, the story was set in Maine, beginning in Portland, fully named, and fully realized. The beginning scene in the Old Port was absolutely perfect. Again, fortunately, while I know the general area where the village of Two Mile is set, it’s not a real location. Again, I’m not sure I’d be able to look at the same way if it were.

There are plenty of other stories in the book set in other parts of America and in England or Ireland as well. I definitely enjoyed the book – it was a perfect choice for this season, and fitting that it was the last RIP III selection that I read, this close to Halloween.

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