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3.0 out of 5 stars
Most overrated Lovecraft story ever, 13 May 2012
I consider myself a fan of Lovecraft's fiction, but this has been for me his most disappointing story to date, if only because of the enormous gap between the obvious effort that Lovecraft has invested into it and the result attained:
- A story a hundred pages long which is mostly description and nothing but description (in lots of cases implausibly, by the way, but I don't want to spoil any detail here; suffice it to say that the characters can't possibly learn so much so quickly in the circumstances given).
- The action consists almost entirely of what characters perceive with hardly any interaction with the situation. Several times while reading the story it occurred to me that what Lovecraft was trying to do would have a more suitable form as a fictional essay (as in Borges or Stanislaw Lem).
- The descriptions and hints themselves are quite repetitive and blatant, as if Lovecraft considered his readers too dumb to get clues at the first or second mention.
Lovecraft has a lot of mediocre stories, but he probably thought that this wasn't one of them: its ambition and scope is obvious. On the positive, the atmosphere, when not drowned by its descriptive excess, is excellent as usual, and the details and connections with other stories are evocative. Anyway, a letdown for me.