Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Mr. Shivers - Robert Jackson Bennett

To be published on January 15th, 2010, Mr. Shivers is a hard book for me to review. I loved it. The writing was superb. The main character developed over time making the ending the only one possible.

So what's the problem? The ending was predictable. In fact, I predicted it about a quarter of the way through the novel. Is that bad? Not necessarily. The inevitability of the protagonist's ... end (since I don't want to spoil the book) creates tension in the reader that really forces you to keep reading. It reminded me of a story by Chaucer. I'll let you figure out which one. Ultimately the ending left me a bit unsettled and not entirely satisfied.

And yet, this was a book I COULD NOT PUT DOWN. Even though I wasn't interested in depression America, I found Connelly, the protagonist, so intriguing I had to read on. And Mr. Bennett brings the era to life, both in terms of the living conditions and the belief systems of the time.

Mr. Shivers has dome something bad. Several bad things actually and Connelly intends to make him pay for one of those things. While Connelly tracks him across America, becoming a hobo on the train lines, he encounters others who want to make Mr. Shivers pay.

The real question is not so much whether Connelly will find him or not - he's determined to do so or die trying - but whether Mr. Shivers is even human, and therefore able to be stopped.

Try not to read the back cover as it gives away a piece of information that the book holds in reserve until later in the story, doling out bits of Connelly's past as he continues his quest.

And make sure you have some uninterrupted time in which to enjoy the read. And remember, though it's not particularly gory, it is a horror novel, so the unsettled feeling at the end is probably intentional.

1 comment:

Don said...

Having read the first page of Sir James Frazer's THE GOLDEN BOUGH, I too was able to predict the ending
of MR SHIVERS early on in the book.
Bennett's influences overshadow his
work to the point of distraction.

D.Cosat