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A Dark Matter
 
 

A Dark Matter [Kindle Edition]

Peter Straub
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.31 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Product Description

Review

A glorious character study and an achingly well-written chronicle of lives marked by a brush with the unknowable. One of horror's most accomplished and intelligent voices, consistently lyrical and poetic. (Jes Bickham SFX)

Straub writes understated, literary horror, all the more terrifying in this novel for what he keeps from the reader and for his brilliant psychological portraits of innocents caught up in events beyond their control and understanding. Gripping. (Eric Brown THE GUARDIAN)

This is a story about stories, their importance in our lives and the competing forces of love and evil driving every narrative. And the matter here has more to do with awe and terror, in a religious sense, than the cheap thrills of genre horror. Straub wears his literary influences openly and has nothing to fear by comparison with such greats as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Arthur Machen. (THE TIMES)

Review

"A glorious character study and an achingly well-written chronicle of lives marked by a brush with the unknowable. One of horror's most accomplished and intelligent voices, consistently lyrical and poetic." -- Jes Bickham SFX "Straub writes understated, literary horror, all the more terrifying in this novel for what he keeps from the reader and for his brilliant psychological portraits of innocents caught up in events beyond their control and understanding. Gripping." -- Eric Brown THE GUARDIAN "This is a story about stories, their importance in our lives and the competing forces of love and evil driving every narrative. And the matter here has more to do with awe and terror, in a religious sense, than the cheap thrills of genre horror. Straub wears his literary influences openly and has nothing to fear by comparison with such greats as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Arthur Machen." THE TIMES

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 695 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (3 April 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004N622EE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #234,009 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very slow and boring 24 July 2011
By Phil64
Format:Paperback
'Terrifying... Impossible to put down' said Stephen King on the front cover. Well, it wasn't and I did lots of times! The protagonist wasn't a likable character and was one dimensional as well as all the other characters and the final retelling, from the main character's wife, of the events that happened all those years ago was neither terrifying or intersting. I don't know why she took 40 odd years to retell her story and will tell it only once, without interruption, it was too long and boring.

I took this book on holiday expecting to finish it within a few days, it took two weeks and managed to finish it when the plane touched down. I didn't root for any of the characters and I found that there was no atmosphere to the story.

I give this novel one star, as it's a good pick for a holiday read, there's no way you'd finish it before you get back.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars whats dark about it? 3 April 2011
Format:Paperback
I was extremely disappointed by this book. I found it dull and difficult to get into.
The general idea was a good one but needed expanding to hold the reader's attention.
Synopsis
A group of high school students get inspired by the seductive talk of a couple of college men. They agree to join the group in a ritual in a local meadow(all except one boy who doesn't want to get involved as he doesn't trust the older boys)
Now 30+ years later, as an author, he is inspired to find out exactly what happened as all he knows is the ritual left one man dead and the rest of the group damaged in some way.
The book starts with this background but no details and as the story unfolds, one by one the rest of the group of his childhood friends are traced and give him an explanation of what really happened.
All of them have been changed in some way: one boy once a thief is now helping stores to avoid shoplifting; one boy institutionalised since the event is brought out of his condition by the arrival of the inquirer; one boy is living as a virtual tramp; one girl is now married to a politician and very much self centred, and his wife, another participant, is now blind but well balanced.
Each story is told from the same perspective, as a participant, but we are never really told what happened to the boy that died only that he was torn to shreds. Some of the descriptions are very well written but upon completion of the book the reader is none the wiser as to the actual plot.
I have read a lot of Graham Masterson and Stephen King books and with the odd exception they are gripping reads. Unfortunately I would not recommend this book to anyone.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
As per his mini-bio in the back of the book, Peter Straub has "written nineteen novels and won, multiple times, every award his expanding genre bestows," and so it follows that readers will come to A Dark Matter with a certain measure of anticipation. With what is perhaps his most ambitious fiction to date, however, Straub does not go about systematically catering to expectations. Far from it, in fact; though its tangled narrative stems from a seemingly simple premise - one man in the modern day must piece together the mysterious events that shattered and scattered his adolescent peer group - A Dark Matter is a difficult novel from the first page, wherein the semantic significance of the word 'obstreperous' brings a flood of difficult memories back to Lee Harwell.

Our protagonist is a reasonably popular novelist, treading water when we join him in search of his muse. He doesn't flounder for long: when Lee comes into possession of a late police detective's tell-all memoir, inspiration hits him like a ten tonne truck. To his surprise, the manuscript ties into the very events that his wife, the wonderful Eel, has hidden from him for decades. The desperate lawman's last-ditch attempt to expose a serial murderer represents something else to Lee, however: it is a way in, at long last, to the hidden history of an eventful few weeks in the 1960s.

All those years ago, Lee alone saw through Spencer Mallon, a wandering guru with so-called psychic abilities; the rest of his friends bought into the handsome stranger's supposedly spiritual powers wholesale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A dark that doesn't matter 12 July 2013
By Acton
Format:Paperback
I'm a huge fan of Peter Straub and love many of his novels. However, 'a dark matter', despite the great title, is very boring and hard to read and not an enjoyable experience. It is hard to believe this was written by the genius that gave us 'Ghost Story' and 'Shadowland' and 'Koko' and 'The Throat'. The latter part of the book was incomprehensible to me. I read it when it came out on hardback and will try to read it again someday, but it won't be easy. I think Straub is overthinking his work and his craft and his art. He needs to try having some fun with his novels, like he used to years ago prior to 'Hellfire Club'. I can't imagine Straub attracting any new fans with a book like this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read 15 April 2011
Format:Paperback
It's interesting that so many people seem to be disappointed with this book. Personally, I enjoyed it for its language and the psychology driving the characters. The "Event" that links all the characters together didn't seem to me to be the main point, rather it was the effect on the group of friends. However, I don't think it was terrifying, as Stephen King states but there were some eerie and thought provoking metaphysical moments. I'm not a quick reader but I did want to keep coming back to it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not scary
My friend told me that this book would scare me. It didn't and the language is very populist. I read another. The same. I guess I am just not a Peter Straub fan.
Published 5 months ago by Emmabemma
1.0 out of 5 stars Pathetic
The whole idea is just silly. A group of students lead by some crazy pseudo guru opens a portal to another reality on a meadow (?? Read more
Published 10 months ago by jan siekiera
2.0 out of 5 stars Losing the will to live
I found this one of the most boring books I have ever tried to read. The characters are one and all uninteresting and before long I couldn't care less what happened to any of them. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Penny Waugh
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the Worst Books I've Ever Read
I got hold of this book after reading a review that placed it amongst the best horrors of 2012. In fact there were a number of official reviews, using words such as... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mr. S. Fell
1.0 out of 5 stars A Dull Matter...
I kept waiting for something interesting to happen.

Sadly, I waited in vain.

A hugely disappointing effort from one of my favourite authors...
Published on 4 April 2012 by Stephen Gilbert
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I am a great fan of Peter Straub and have been for years. I started this book and found myself lost in a maze right from the word go. Read more
Published on 11 Sep 2011 by C. Newbury
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a struggle
I am a fan of Peter Straub's writing but to be honest I am struggling a bit with this one. It is heavy going with highbrow references that slow down an already leisurely paced and... Read more
Published on 7 July 2011 by Mister Mann
5.0 out of 5 stars Love love LOVE this book!
As an avid reader of everything from literature to comics, I devour good authors - and Straub is one of the best. Read more
Published on 11 May 2011 by Mrs. E. A. Molloy
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I don't know why but I just can't get into this book. I've tried 3 or 4 times now and I'm finding it most a unenjoyable, almost depressing read. Read more
Published on 22 April 2011 by Neet
2.0 out of 5 stars Time Lost Never to be Got Back
This is a very disappointing book. I was taken in by the good words from Stephen King. If he thinks it's good, who am I to argue? Read more
Published on 17 April 2011 by Keith Humphreys
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