It’s almost October folks, so I thought I’d give you something to read over the cold winter nights.
Zelazny’s ‘A Night in the Lonesome October’ is something of an oddity:
- it’s written with a cast of well known literary characters
- each chapter represents a day (in October)
- it’s narrated to us by a dog
Not just any dog, but by Snuff. The faithful canine companion of Jack. While it’s never actually said, it’s heavily implied that it is, of course, none other than Jack the Ripper. Like Jack the other characters are suggested at and each has an animal companion. I’m assuming they’re not named because of licensing/copyright issues, but I’m not sure. There’s ‘The Good Doctor’ who is making a man, Jill (a witch) who has a cat as her companion, ‘The Count’ who has a bat, a rather evil vicar who has a raven, and so on. It’s like a halloween ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’.
What links them together?
‘The game’ is mentioned throughout the start of the book and we learn of ‘openers’ and ‘closers’ we’re unsure what any of this means but, like any good story, we learn snippets of information as the animals discuss things. Yes, the animals. Snuff (the dog) is the main character and is quite friendly with Jill’s cat. He is also calculating the patterns of ‘the game’ and keeping an eye on the other characters. As we learn throughout the story, rules are rules, and you don’t discuss tactics or your masters position within ‘the game’, so everything the animals discuss with one another is coy.
As the story progresses there are twists and turns, and just when you think so-and-so is doing such-and-such there’s a proverbial spanner lobbed in your direction.
I won’t be giving away the ending, which I found a tad disappointing, but this is a top notch Lovecraftian themed book which poses a lot of questions which it, thankfully, answers. You can pick it up for a few pounds on Amazon or via certain digital mediums.