This review is from: A Dark Matter (Paperback)
Peter Straub is one of my favourite authors, so I expected to enjoy this latest offering immensely. Having devoured it whole over two days, I still am not sure whether I actually enjoyed it or not. This novel is a strange hybrid of a 'buddy' novel (think Stand by Me and, yes, I do know it's a novella and part of 'Different Seasons' but tomayto, tomato, just bear with me!)a rite de passage journey and a whodunnit / what was it?
The relationships between the characters were well crafted from their adolescence, through their estrangement and as they work through to an understanding of what actually happened in the long ago. The story benefited from having a character, the writer Lee Harwell, at a remove from the actual events. Through him, Straub gave us a unencumbered view of the 'facts' but also an agent to draw together the survivors and help them face what they had seen.
I wanted to know more about the flawed 'guru' Spencer Mallon, but I felt that most of the glimpses of his character that we were given were composed of 70% b.s. and 30% philosophical b.s.! 'The Eel', I'm afraid to say, I just didn't 'get'. Yes, she is a brave, fearless, strong women, but I just plain old didn't like her much.
I suppose the question is, would I recommend this book? I think so. But first, I would hand you my extremely well thumbed 1st edition of Straub's 'The Throat' that I have read once a year since the year it was published and tell you, 'Now THAT'S a Peter Straub novel'. As for 'A Dark Matter'. It was dark. But did it matter? For me, the jury is out on that one.