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The Croning Hardcover – May 1, 2012
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Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., author of The Orphan Palace
Already a master of the horror short story, he shows himself equally skilled at novel-length work.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review
The Croning deserves a place in the bookcase next to T.E.D. Klein’s The Ceremonies, Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby and Fritz Leiber’s Our Lady Of Darkness and that is the highest recommendation that I can give.”
"The scariest writer on the planet has to be Laird Barron."
Paul Goat Allen, The Barnes & Noble Book Blog
"Laird Barron has, in a remarkably short period of time, emerged as one of the leading writers of contemporary weird fiction."
S. T. Joshi
If you think there aren’t any new Richard Mathesons or Harlan Ellisons out there, you need to read Laird Barron.”
Stewart O’Nan, bestselling author of A Prayer for the Dying
Laird Barron is one of those writers who makes other writers want to break their pencils. I’m serious. His work is that good. Worse than that, he’s an original (damn him!), and the finest writer to join the ranks of the dark fantastic in a long, long time.”
Norman Partridge, author of Dark Harvest and Lesser Demons
For my money, Laird Barron is far and away the best of the new generation of horror writers.”
Michael Shea, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Polyphemus
About the Author
Laird Barronis the author of the novelThe Croningand three collections of short fiction:The Imago Sequence,Occultation, andThe 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
I currently reside in Upstate New York and am writing a novel about the evil that men do.
(photo courtesy Ardi Alspach)
Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.Read more ›
Assuming reader familiarity with at least one incarnation of this fairy tale, Barron describes the arduous journey undertaken by the queen's henchman-who is also her brother and lover-to ferret out the name of the benefactor. Barron's spin includes profane and anachronistic language, a canine sidekick, and a gruesome discovery: The benefactor is not a one-off con artist. He is ancient and mysterious, insinuating himself into the lives and dreams of thousands of people. He is and is not what he appears to be. And he has henchmen of his own.
Following the fairy tale we pick up our main story. Don Miller and Michelle Mock are married and by all appearances madly in love. His area of expertise is geology, hers is anthropology. Over the course of five decades they travel together and separately to remote places all around the globe. They have children. They grow old together. On paper this seems like a perfect marriage. Yet something has happened to cause a permanent, subterranean rift.
Beginning with a bizarre event in Mexico in 1958 Don and Michelle have taken different spiritual paths. Apparently successful and well matched, their surface lives conceal what may be irreconcilable differences.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Greatly enjoyed this! Lovecraft fans and fans of weird horror should read it. Barron's prose is economical but lyrical. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gwen P. Callahan
Uniquely disturbing, with some terrifyingly vivid moments of cosmic horror. I wouldn't recommend this as a first taste of Barron, as this story ties together elements of many of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by tFg
This one is one creepy book. Barron weaves various dark threads expertly to their conclusion...and what an ending...creepy to the end.Published 1 month ago by Haldenbrook
The overall story was okay but it was hard to grasp. Maybe a little more description would have helped.Published 2 months ago by Tina Hughes -Parker
Stunning work. I (almost) devoured it in a sitting. Barron's writing tells us that those nefarious men in the black suits really are up to something.Published 3 months ago by Caroline in the Desert
A twist in the plot mid-novel nearly threw me. This was so excellently crafted that I was constantly reevaluating my preconceptions. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kindle Customer Richard H Roberts