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A Dark Matter

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A Dark Matter Cover

ISBN13: 9780385516389
ISBN10: 038551638x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The incomparable master of horror and suspense returns with a powerful, brilliantly terrifying novel that redefines the genre in original and unexpected ways.

The charismatic and cunning Spenser Mallon is a campus guru in the 1960s, attracting the devotion and demanding sexual favors of his young acolytes. After he invites his most fervent followers to attend a secret ritual in a local meadow, the only thing that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body — and the shattered souls of all who were present.

Years later, one man attempts to understand what happened to his wife and to his friends by writing a book about this horrible night, and its through this process that they begin to examine the unspeakable events that have bound them in ways they cannot fathom, but that have haunted every one of them through their lives. As each of the old friends tries to come to grips with the darkness of the past, they find themselves face-to-face with the evil triggered so many years earlier. Unfolding through the individual stories of the fated groups members, A Dark Matter is an electric, chilling, and unpredictable novel that will satisfy Peter Straub's many ardent fans, and win him legions more.

Review:

"In this tour de force from bestseller Straub (In the Night Room), four high school friends in 1966 Madison, Wis. — Hootie Bly, Dilly Olson, Jason Boatman, and Lee Truax — fall under the spell of charismatic wandering guru Spencer Mallon. During an occult ceremony in which Mallon attempts to break through to a higher reality, something goes horribly awry leaving one participant dead. Decades later, Lee's writer husband interviews the quartet to find out what happened. In Roshomon-like fashion, each relates a slightly different account of the trauma they experienced. Straub masterfully shows how the disappointments, downturns, and failed promise of the four friends' lives may have stemmed from this youthful experience, and suggests, by extension, that the malignant evil they helped unleash into the world has tainted all hope ever since. Brilliant in its orchestration and provocative in its speculations, this novel ranks as one of the finest tales of modern horror. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information)

Review:

"Straub’s last few fantasies have been ever more baroque, but this tall, dark tale beats them all for heaven-storming scale and wheels within wheels." Kirkus

Review:

“Peter Straub's new novel is a terrifying story of innocents — high school students in the turbulent sixties — who stumble into horrors far beyond their understanding. A Dark Matter is populated with vivid, sympathetic characters, and driven by terrors both human and supernatural. It's the kind of book that's impossible to put down once it has been picked up. It kept me reading far into the night. Straub builds otherworldly terror without ever losing touch with his attractive cast of youngsters, who age beautifully. Put this one high on your list.” Stephen King

Review:

"Part Rashomon, part The Turn of the Screw. Peter Straub may well be the most important voice in suspense fiction today." Lincoln Child

Review:

"American master Peter Straub takes the sweep of our freaky history over the past forty years, subjects it to all the elegant gifts of madness and arts of haunting of which he is the wicked king, and finds himself in possession of a masterpiece." Michael Chabon, author of The Yiddish Policemen's Union and Manhood for Amateurs

Review:

"[A]s dazzling a literary performance as anything Straub has ever written." Booklist

Review:

"I've been reading Peter Straub since I was a teenager, and his work is hardwired into my brain. A Dark Matter contains echoes of all that has been great about Straub's previous work and builds upon it. This Rashomon-like tale is as spooky and frightening as anything he has written, but it's also an intense and moving celebration of love. Out of the darkness comes, ultimately, a surprising and haunting sense of joy." Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply

Review:

"Increasingly, Peter Straub brilliantly defies and blurs literary genres. A Dark Matter is a page-turning thriller of every sort: psychological, sociological, epistemological. Plus, it's really scary." Lorrie Moore, author of A Gate At the Stairs

Review:

“A devastatingly good novel. In its investigation of a dark ritual that casts a decades-long shadow, A Dark Matter makes you question all you thought you knew about horror and about literature. But it goes well beyond that: it messes with your sense of reality and then, just when you're getting your bearings, scrambles it again.”Brian Evenson, author of The Open Curtain

Synopsis:

This electric, chilling, and unpredictable novel will satisfy Straub's many ardent fans and win him legions more. By revisiting an evil act that happened years ago, a man may awaken more than he intended — and he may get what he deserves.

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About the Author

Peter Straub is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. Two of his most recent, Lost Boy Lost Girl and In the Night Room, are winners of the Bram Stoker Award. He lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Michelle Souliere, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Michelle Souliere)
“No more than a dark shimmer in the air.” --Howard “Hootie” Bly

A Dark Matter is Peter Straub’s latest novel. Don’t let the fact that his work is classified as horror scare you away. This categorization glosses over the fact that in reality Straub writes speculative fiction of a highly literate nature, with a special focus on the shadows, which is true in this case and in past novels such as Shadowland.

As A Dark Matter opens, Lee Harwell is in search of his past. More correctly, he is in search of the past of his wife and friends, who experienced something one night in 1966 that they never explained to him, never let him in on, and never shared, though it shaped their lives and his from that night on.

In the mid 1960s, the ripples of world change were striding across the American landscape. There were those who adroitly gauged the effects of the growing social unrest and seized upon that wave. One of these was Spencer Mallon, a young adventurer guru, who swept into Madison, Wisconsin, and wowed his way into the hearts, minds, pantries and bedrooms of a series of young students.

All that talk of heady epiphanies ended on a night in mid-October, leaving behind Lee’s friends, forever altered, and another student’s mangled body in a field. There had been a transformation, as Mallon promised, but it wasn’t what any of them had expected.

Four decades later, Lee tries to put the pieces back together again, one person at a time.

Peter Straub’s books hold for me a certain type of enchantment, an allure that makes it difficult to nail down in my own words an accurate impression of his work. It has to do with mystery. It has to do with fleeting impressions and momentary glimpses that make you wonder. What was that about? Where did it come from? Did I really see that? Did I really hear that? Would a “yes” in answer to those last two questions really be a good thing?

Perhaps this quote from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass will make matters a little clearer:

`The name of the song is called "Haddocks' Eyes."'
`Oh, that's the name of the song, is it?' Alice said, trying to feel interested.
`No, you don't understand,' the Knight said, looking a little vexed. `That's what the name is called. The name really is "The Aged Aged Man."'
`Then I ought to have said "That's what the song is called"?' Alice corrected herself.
`No, you oughtn't: that's quite another thing! The song is called "Ways and Means": but that's only what it's called, you know!'
`Well, what is the song, then?' said Alice, who was by this time completely bewildered.
`I was coming to that,' the Knight said. `The song really is "A-sitting On A Gate": and the tune's my own invention.'

You see?

I’m pretty sure I need to sit down and read the book again, because I want to. It’s been a few months now since I finished reading it for this review. It’s taken me that long to try to really process how the book captured me (and I still can’t quite do it). A lot of other reviewers have complained about the lack of oomph in the ending. I can see that – I think I myself felt a little let down, after the highs of the story itself. But if Straub really was doing an experiment with this book, in which time and perception weave their layers as bizarrely as they do in real life and its memories, why does the story really need an ending?

“You’ll see. Everything stops when you open the door.” --Spencer Mallon
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385516389
Author:
Straub, Peter
Publisher:
Doubleday
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Horror fiction
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Suspense
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20100209
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9.6 x 6.48 x 1.52 in 1.5 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Horror » General
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

A Dark Matter Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385516389 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this tour de force from bestseller Straub (In the Night Room), four high school friends in 1966 Madison, Wis. — Hootie Bly, Dilly Olson, Jason Boatman, and Lee Truax — fall under the spell of charismatic wandering guru Spencer Mallon. During an occult ceremony in which Mallon attempts to break through to a higher reality, something goes horribly awry leaving one participant dead. Decades later, Lee's writer husband interviews the quartet to find out what happened. In Roshomon-like fashion, each relates a slightly different account of the trauma they experienced. Straub masterfully shows how the disappointments, downturns, and failed promise of the four friends' lives may have stemmed from this youthful experience, and suggests, by extension, that the malignant evil they helped unleash into the world has tainted all hope ever since. Brilliant in its orchestration and provocative in its speculations, this novel ranks as one of the finest tales of modern horror. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information)
"Review" by , "Straub’s last few fantasies have been ever more baroque, but this tall, dark tale beats them all for heaven-storming scale and wheels within wheels."
"Review" by , “Peter Straub's new novel is a terrifying story of innocents — high school students in the turbulent sixties — who stumble into horrors far beyond their understanding. A Dark Matter is populated with vivid, sympathetic characters, and driven by terrors both human and supernatural. It's the kind of book that's impossible to put down once it has been picked up. It kept me reading far into the night. Straub builds otherworldly terror without ever losing touch with his attractive cast of youngsters, who age beautifully. Put this one high on your list.”
"Review" by , "Part Rashomon, part The Turn of the Screw. Peter Straub may well be the most important voice in suspense fiction today."
"Review" by , "American master Peter Straub takes the sweep of our freaky history over the past forty years, subjects it to all the elegant gifts of madness and arts of haunting of which he is the wicked king, and finds himself in possession of a masterpiece."
"Review" by , "[A]s dazzling a literary performance as anything Straub has ever written."
"Review" by , "I've been reading Peter Straub since I was a teenager, and his work is hardwired into my brain. A Dark Matter contains echoes of all that has been great about Straub's previous work and builds upon it. This Rashomon-like tale is as spooky and frightening as anything he has written, but it's also an intense and moving celebration of love. Out of the darkness comes, ultimately, a surprising and haunting sense of joy."
"Review" by , "Increasingly, Peter Straub brilliantly defies and blurs literary genres. A Dark Matter is a page-turning thriller of every sort: psychological, sociological, epistemological. Plus, it's really scary."
"Review" by , “A devastatingly good novel. In its investigation of a dark ritual that casts a decades-long shadow, A Dark Matter makes you question all you thought you knew about horror and about literature. But it goes well beyond that: it messes with your sense of reality and then, just when you're getting your bearings, scrambles it again.”
"Synopsis" by , This electric, chilling, and unpredictable novel will satisfy Straub's many ardent fans and win him legions more. By revisiting an evil act that happened years ago, a man may awaken more than he intended — and he may get what he deserves.
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