Initially, I wasn’t sure how well this book was going to work. It supposedly dealt with the same existential issues as Dandelion Wine, but simultaneously tells a story meant to inspire horror. Obviously, it’s possible, it’s just a tricky business keeping one thing from taking from the other. Horror is often a visceral thing. It hits you hard, instills a sense of unease that has to be carefully manufactured so as not to give away too much, or push too hard. Mixing the mental toils of life and its inevitable ending seemed a surefire way to see it buried beneath bone and blood like coagulated poutine. Or perhaps the horror would be used incorrectly, left too vague like the crushing weight of shadows or an evil drawn to the point of parody.
Regardless of how founded or valid these concerns of mine may have been, they were utterly unnecessary. Something Wicked This Way Comes finds its space between character and narrative current and balances them perfectly. It effortlessly builds its admittedly male-centric cast. It bares the same poetic flare as Dandelion Wine and manages to drag you through hell while waxing philosophic. It does not falter, it does not muddy itself in the minutia of what is known and what is lost. It’s all there, a superposition of fact and superstition pinned in(between) the library basement and circus tent.
You will recognize the horror, see it feed, recognize its wrongness, but you will never understand, it will never offer you anything so concrete. It is a dream, a fevered claustrophobic nightmare where what is known is simply felt, intuited by some distant familiarity, a piece of memory from when we first saw the simple selfishness of our nature and instead of embracing that evil, chose to walk the path of Sisyphus.