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Horns: A Novel Paperback – March 8, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
That's simple enough, an amusing premise for something of a supernatural thriller, but Joe Hill does more than just exploit that - a lot more.
First of all, the book is just crazy funny. Hill has a great ear for dialogue, his scenes are often completely absurd and yet somehow believeable, and the situations are, after all, ridiculous on their face, but he makes it all work.
Second, his plotting (for such a strange book) is tight. The heart of the book is something of a murder mystery, and Hill uses flashbacks from various characters to good effect, putting the pieces of the puzzle in place in a pretty clever way.
Third, there is something more than just a wild ride for his characters here - there is actually a touching love story, and the revelations behind various motivations and actions are really well done. The last 50 pages or so, and especially the last 20, are in fact just downright intimate - and all without seeming mawkish or losing the flavor of the very strange ending.
It's a crime story, a horror story, a love story - frankly, it's a lot like something Steven King would have written 20 years ago. It's excellent.
It is with these initial interactions, with his girlfriend, the folks in the doctor's office, and most disturbingly with his family, that Ig makes several unpleasant discoveries. No one reacts to the horns. Rather, they're compelled to share their deepest, darkest, sickest secrets. Trust me; you don't want to hear the most vile thoughts of a stranger on the street--much less those of your grandma!
Just when this grotesque show-and-tell is beginning to feel a bit old, Hill moves on and dives into the meat of his story, Ig's story. One year prior, Ig's childhood sweetheart, the love of his life, was violently murdered. The crime was never solved, and Ig is widely believed to be the murderer. Very widely believed, he is to learn. Hill's novel ultimately spans several literary genres. It's a supernatural thriller, a murder mystery, a coming of age story, and a dark comedy all rolled into one. And the novel succeeds quite well on all counts.
As the story drew to its conclusion, the thing that was very noticeable to me was how elegantly constructed the novel was. It was like a perfect puzzle, with different clues and unanswered questions salted throughout. But by the end, everything came together in a way that wasn't so much neat as inevitable. It was elegant.Read more ›
The story is told in a clever, anachronistic series of revelations, flashbacks, and varying perspectives on the same hellish, downright heartbreaking series of events. Hill's talent for weaving a yarn from dreamlike scenes, sudden remembrances, and epiphanies is something I've scarcely seen done so masterfully before. He manages to direct the reader's every thought, not misguiding through deception -- such acts are the sort of devilry that only Ig Perrish would condone -- but rather leading his audience through darkness (as well as some truly beautiful, almost divine imagery both heartwarming and obscene) toward the inevitable conclusion.
Without spoiling too much, I'll simply say that Horns was everything I wasn't expecting, in addition to that which I was. For every sinister act of the devil, there eventually shines the light of God (saith the Atheist in Theology 101). It's a fascinating, brilliant, saddening, glimmer-of-hope examination of all humanity's faults and what it means to truly achieve redemption.
Theology, though, is far from the real focus of the novel -- although it is certainly a heavy thread throughout. In fact, the devil Hill portrays is a purely modern conception: powers of deception, influence over the sinful mind, rock n' roll, and rusty pitchforks.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really well-written. As the backstory is filled in, it moves from being kind of a horror-mystery to a heartbreaking love story.Published 10 days ago by F. James
Very strange novel, and pretty depressing in a lot of ways, though it leaves you hopeful in the end. BUT it was very interesting to read, and I'm not sorry I bought it. Read morePublished 10 days ago by April
The acting was terrible. Didn't even finish watching. They did not follow the story line of the book.Published 14 days ago by readalot
This book makes you rethink who is good and who is not out there. Enjoyed this book very much.Published 14 days ago by Janet L. Giudice
I've been eagerly devouring all things Joe Hill since I read Heart Shaped Box. Unfortunately, this book left me both sad and confused. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Barb Lawrence
I'm very glad that I read this book before seeing the movie or knowing very much about the story, and could be surprised by the plot elements. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Erin
Didnt care for Heart-Shaped Box nor NOS4ATU..Horns is a classic..one of the best novels Ive ever read. True horror..sympathy for paths wrong takenPublished 29 days ago by Saul Cohn