Every October, fans read A Night in the Lonesome October, which has one chapter for each day of the month in which it’s set.
(I read it in January and forgot about re-reading it this month, but that’s beside the point.)
A Night in the Lonesome October is an unusual and quirky novel. The overall plot, about a door to another world that can be opened on Halloween and the people who try to either enable this or prevent it, takes clear inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft.
Everything is told from the point of view of Snuff, a dog who belongs to one the “Players” trying to keep the door closed, Jack. Although never directly stated, it’s strongly implied that he is Jack the Ripper.
(In fact, according to rumor, the author wrote A Night in the Lonesome October because someone made a bet he couldn’t get readers to root for Jack the Ripper.)
But Jack isn’t the only familiar face. From “The Great Detective” to Larry Talbot, most of the cast comes straight from traditional stories. Part of the fun of reading it for the first time is figuring out who is who.
And Snuff isn’t the only animal. Every Player has a familiar. These animals are just as much characters as the humans, which adds even more charm to the story. Oh, and no one knows who is on which side.
Although many dark things happen during the story, it’s fairly light in tone… occupying a middle ground between the Lovecraftian stories we looked at earlier this month, Eternal Darkness (darker than dark) and Cthulhu Saves the World (outright comedy).
A Night in the Lonesome October is an enjoyable and mysterious story, all the more so due to its cast and themes. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. If you want to read something that’s a little bit spooky and all-around fun, look this one up and enjoy your night in the lonesome October.
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