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The Croning Hardcover

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The Croning + The Light Is the Darkness + The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books; 1st Ed edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597802301
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597802307
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #763,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laird Barron is the author of the novel The Croning and three collections of short fiction: The Imago Sequence, Occultation, and The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All. His work has appeared in manymagazines and anthologies. An expatriate Alaskan, Barron currently resides in the wilds of upstate New York.

More About the Author

Born and raised in Alaska, I did time in the wilderness. I raced in several Iditarods. Later, I got the hell out and migrated to Washington State where I devoted myself to American Combato and reading guys like Parker, Ellroy, and McCarthy. At night I wrote tales that smash up noir, crime and horror.

I currently reside in Upstate New York and am writing a novel about the evil that men do.

(photo courtesy JD Busch)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 48 customer reviews
Good character building for such a short novel as well.
Lee David Beers
Setting aside the complexity and weight of the narrative, this novel would still be a must-read for the unique style of the author's prose.
S. P. Miskowski
Laird Barron's debut novel, The Croning, is an astonishingly good and original horror novel.
"Seregil of Rhiminee"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Justin Steele on May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I remember when I read my first Laird Barron story, "Catch Hell", in Ellen Datlow's Lovecraft Unbound. When I finished reading the final page, I placed the book down, logged onto my Amazon account, and ordered his first story collection. A few days later it arrived, and I've been a fan ever since, devouring his second collection and novella when they were published.

With this in mind, it's fair to say that expectations were very high for The Croning. It's also fair to say that Mr. Barron not only meets those expectations, he beats them. He beats them bloody.

I've always been wary of the "perfect" review, but there really isn't much to find wrong with this novel. The plot comes together beautifully, the characters are very well realized, and the sense of dread pulsing in the background and steadily growing until the climax can only be done by a master. If this author's stories gave you nightmares, than this novel will take it a step further and give you all out night terrors.

This book would be a great start for anyone new to Barron's work, and will give an idea of how talented he is. Fans of anything reminiscent of Lovecraft's works or themes must read Barron. There's no question about it. Even fans of horror in general should pick this book up; what's between the covers will terrify anyone. Lastly, anyone who is already a Barron fan will be overjoyed by this novel. It's also great fun spotting all the connections to his other stories, which help to further his own horrifying "mythos".

Now that I'm finished I find myself re-reading all his short stories and eagerly awaiting more new fiction!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By B. Henderson on May 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pastiche of the secret society horror flicks of the 70s. A well-intentioned, well-grounded, and keenly self-aware homage to Lovecraft. Postmodern retelling of a certain fairy tale about a certain grubby critter what name begins with R. A cosmic custody battle.

What Laird Barron accomplishes, among so many other things in The Croning is a stitching together of tropes that call out from myth and fairy tale, from that odd blip of literary history where H.P. Lovecraft toiled on into the Friday nights and Saturday afternoons where horror movies rode those squelchy analog frequencies to scare the crap out of you if that was your thing when you hoped your TV antenna caught more than public television and one other channel. Then you wished it hadn't.

Don Miller is not a doughty protagonist. While he has his two-fisted moments, he's mostly an affable, absentminded professor married to a gorgeous anthropologist descended of aristocratic stock. Don's dirty work with rocks still keeps him separated from that jet-setting, trust-funding, old-money world through which Michelle will always navigate with more decorum than her husband could ever hope to summon. Barron takes us on a sixty-plus-year journey, rifling through shifting timelines and keeping focus tightened on Don's accretion of revelations about sudden trips to darker corners to Mexico or the Siberian taiga--all of it secondhand and colored by gaps and holes in Don's memories.

Because you can't hat-tip to Lovecraft, see, without screwing with your protagonist's mind, and Barron doesn't wait until the denouement to do this. He rather adroitly gets Don's brainpan Swiss cheesed in Act 1. In the 1950's. Then the 1980's. Yet again in the Now.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Anne Ward on December 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Croning is a perfectly horrible book, and I mean that in high compliment.

It's rare that a horror story actually scares me these days (and more's the pity), but Barron's first novel is wrong in all the right ways, leaving behind a caul of unease, and a wicked dose of the cosmic heebie-jeebies. (I'm thrilled to admit that when I finished it last night, I left the lights on.) Also? Un-put-downable. The Croning sustains the poisonous adrenaline level of one of Barron's short stories over almost 250 pages; once you open the cover you are done for. But the faint-of-heart be warned: this is a seriously dark and unpleasant ride, with a sucking black hole where some might prefer redemptive resolution.

With each tautly descriptive and hallucinogenic page, the dread level ratchets up another notch, for both the reader and our "hero" Don Miller. Don, a former geologist and cave-expert now in his early 80s, has recently come to suspect that his notoriously unreliable memory is finally going for good. As Don settles into uneasy retirement in his wife's ancestral family home in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, he reviews his apparently charmed life: moderate wealth, adventurous travel, family and a 50-plus-year marriage with love of his life, the still-vivacious -- and still-successful -- archaeologist Michelle Mock.

But there is something wrong. Don feels a creeping dread about the house and the Mock family's mysterious history, as well as Michelle's long absences, unreliable itineraries, and violent mood swings. Now, Don's fears begin to coalesce into a pattern of nagging inconsistencies and memory-repression so terrifying as to indeed resemble dementia.
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