Reviewer Praise for AWAKE IN THE NIGHT

Best title of a book review ever:
Book Review: Awake in the Night Land, and Why I Was Late for Work This Morning

Mr Moore over at Yard Sale of the Mind is the exactly the type of reader most authors wish in vain to please: a man who ‘gets’ what your story is about on a fundamental level. God is gracious. Mr Moore’s review is so interesting, even moving, that it makes me want to get a copy of the book myself.

Awake in the Night Land_final

John C. Wright’s Awake in the Night Land consists of 4 stories set in William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land universe. Short and sweet: I am awestruck. I have wept at the end of stories exactly twice in my life –  I wept at the end of this book. Beautiful, wonderful stuff.

A few months ago, I read separately the third story in the set, Silence of the Night, and that was enough for me to track down Hodgson’s ponderous masterpiece, in order to better understand the universe in which Wright’s stories take place. I reviewed Night Land here.

My favorite part is his final paragraph:

One caveat, and this is the same caveat that was mentioned to us students back as freshmen at St. John’s College: Great Books are not children’s books. They are meant for mature minds. This great story could only be written by a man who is in love, and has been for a long time, and who has beloved children. One has to know love that is not infatuation, not primarily a feeling, not something that passes. To understand these stories, especially the last, very deeply on an emotional level,  it will take some mature experience of love.  Someone who has not loved long and true, or at least tried to truly love someone for a long time, will, I fear, not get the full emotional impact. I’m not talking about perfect love, which is not possible for us here, but rather the love that makes one want to be perfect.

So, go get this book and read it. Read The Night Lands first, if you can, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

High praise indeed, but often a thoughtful reader will see something that the divine muse has breathed into a book which even the author does not see and cannot guess — this is certainly true of my short stories.

I owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr Andy Robertson, may he rest in peace, for buying these stories. Like me, he is a fan of this obscure, flawed book, a book that is a particular favorite of mine, a favorite in a way only bookish people know.

To me, Hodgson’s THE NIGHT LAND is like the Book of Gold alleged by rumor to be set out to trap children with the love of reading by the secret guild of librarians and archivists, and by such sleights and dark magics they renew their numbers until such time as the Conciliator come again.

I should also express thanks to my friends in school, Bill Carver and Rich Parmele, who first brought this book to my attention. They also played in my ‘Jack of Shadows meets the Last Redoubt’ Zelazny-Hodgson-Lovecraft crossover role playing game, where many of the visuals images, details and concepts I used later in the short stories of the Night Land were worked out.