Take a good look at the cover and promptly discard whatever crosses your mind : it can’t be what this novella is about. Now that we’ve settled what this story is not, I confess being unsure of what it is . The portrait of a dreamer? Paranormal romance? An atmospheric literary piece? Most probably all of that, and yet in my opinion, never achieving any of that.
It starts as a familial photo album I enjoyed leafing through, painting the portrait of a man living inside his own head, with his feet in two different worlds he can’t reconcile. The story shifts, worlds’ edges blur, paranormal overcomes Horacious’ grip on reality, his dream lover materializes. Or is Horacio fading? Did he feed off Horacio’s dreams? Did he induce the dreams? Is he born from Horacio’s mind? Will Horacio take him in the real world or will he take Horacio from the livings?
It is typical M.King style in the sense that it’s about being immerged in thoughts and moods and feelings, therefore in this case about being torn between two worlds, and never fully grasping what is happening, just like Horacio. So, no matter how confused I sound, confusion is not a problem in itself.
The writing is beautiful as always. And yet… M. King is one of my favourite authors because I usually revel in her words, in her wonderful, wonderful use of language, in her ability to be lyrical and never hollow because it usually serves a strong story and not the other way around. I highlighted words and sentences as always, enjoyed them for their music and rythm, and for the worlds of images and thoughts they open, but not for the story they (didn’t) tell. Perhaps because I didn’t understand, perhaps because I wasn’t able to let go, perhaps because I had this feeling that the story lines never fully merged to make sense of the confusion, that the arc wasn’t strong enough to hook me.
“I am,” [Horacio's lover] said slowly. “Is that not enough?”
As much as I loved this quote, no it wasn’t. The story failed to make it enough and this read was okay when I’ve been spoiled with mind-blowing. Don’t let me deter you from giving it a try if you’re already a fan; you will get something out of it. But I don’t recommend it to start reading this author’s work.