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All Hallows' Eve Paperback – November 11, 2002
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All Hallows' Eve is Charles Williams' last novel, written and set in WW2 England. It starts shortly after the tragic deaths of two women friends, Evalyn and Lester, in a bizarre collision, and neither is aware at first that they have died. They wander a weirdly deserted London separately for a brief time before meeting up, which gives the author an opportunity to focus on Lester's inner spiritual journey as she slowly confronts some unattractive truths about herself and her important relationships with her husband and her friends. In a separate but intersecting storyarc, Lester's surviving husband and his artist friend cross paths with a popular cult leader, Simon Le Clerc. This disturbing figure has a hidden past that is revealed only to us, the readers, as the plot unfolds. He is shaping up to be something not unlike an antichrist of sorts who is conducting covert, occultic experiments on the artist's love interest, Betty Wallingford, who is the daughter of one of Le Clerc's most devoted followers.
Williams makes use of Betty's nighttime passages to scratch the surface of an alternate universe which Evelyn, Lester and (presumably) other newly-deceased inhabit. It is simply described as the City, and although it bears a surface resemblance to London, it is more of an infrastructure to London, or perhaps the Platonic Ideal of London...possibly something more.Read more ›
The story arc is difficult to describe, but the two lead characters are dead girls operating in a depopulated limbo, with occasional glimpses of where they are heading (Hell and Heaven) and where they have been (the mortal world). Secondary characters include well-intentioned, but hapless young men, an evil grand dame, her suppressed daughter, and a monster of a necromancer intent on enslaving humanity and the dead alike.
Williams narrative style borrows much from philology, for the precise and poetic way in which he uses words lulls us into other worlds. This is in fact his thesis, that words are a link to another world, which is why spells and prayers are effective beyond their mere utterance. One wonders what Heidegger and Wittgenstein would have thought, for this is the novelisation and narrative explication of Heidegger's conceptions of being-there, and the refutation of the reductionism inherent in wordly precision that Wittgenstein refuted his own Tractatus and sought the rest of his life in the elusive and indefinable power of mytho-poetic language.
Soft souls avoid, for this is a challenging supernatural read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great novel exploring the supernatural amidst the natural... Ghosts, an evil warlock, and a few friends stuck in between their two worlds.Published 8 months ago by Fat Friar 16
I like it but, it may well be the weirdest novel every published. A colleague of Tolkien, Williams was (they say) a devout Christian and his writing is said to reflect that. Read morePublished 11 months ago by M. Tait
I chose to read All Hallow’s Eve because I had heard the author was aggressively Christian. Since I am an atheist, I like to try and see how people who live a completely different... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Walter Stanley
The last of his novels seems to be his best, although having read all of them only once, my opinion might change as I read again, and begin to better understand his earlier works. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Gil Gilliam
Just tore through this book. Wow and wow again. The symbolic portrayal of the area between death and life where the newly dead roam and how they think, their minds wandering over... Read morePublished 20 months ago by CC
Some interesting points about mysticism and the supernatural world, but I found it not to be very engaging. Hard to follow to the prose.... didn't read easily.Published 22 months ago by Jonathan Kane
I bought this book because I heard it was amazing. Sadly, I can't read it because the kindle version is completely unreadable. Read morePublished on May 17, 2014 by Amazon Customer