I guess Wednesday is the new Monday this week — I got swept up designing some new art and lost track of the days somehow. But this week, I have an excellent book for you. In fact The Mysterium is one of my favourites. Does that mean this is more of a book recommendation post rather than a review? Maybe.
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Eric McCormack is a Scottish-born Canadian author. He was born in Scotland, obtained an English degree, and taught English there before moving to Canada in 1966. He lived in my hometown, Winnipeg, and attended the University of Manitoba to get his PhD. After that, he taught English for more than thirty years at St. Jerome’s College at the University of Waterloo, specializing in seventeenth-century and contemporary literature. He is known for writing fiction with themes of absurdism, existentialism, crime fiction, and gothic horror. He has written several novels, including The Paradise Motel (1989), First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women (1997), The Dutch Wife (2002), and Cloud (2014).
When, one by one, the normally quiet residents of a British village with a disturbing past become compulsive monologuists, and then die, reporter James Maxwell learns it is impossible to get at the truth about what is happening.Snippet from the Amazon landing page
Published in 1992, The Mysterium is an eerie, haunting novel about a small town experiencing mass and unexplained extinction. A former mining town, Carrick becomes witness to strange acts of vandalism, the brutal death of a shepherd, and finally a plague. A plague whose symptoms include the victims talking themselves to death. The protagonist, a reporter called in to document the tragedy and perhaps find the cause to everything, searches for answers in the baffling case.
This is probably one of my favourite books of all time. I’ve had to have read it four or five times by now. The Mysterium is a novel with several mysteries intertwined with macabre themes and black humour overtones. The setting of Carrick is eerie and fog-haunted, over-shadowed with a past full of death. As you dive deeper into the twisting, winding mysteries of Carrick and its dying villagers, you begin to wonder what’s real and what is just delusions of the unreliable characters that tell their stories to you, through the protagonist.
McCormack’s writing style is unique, gripping, and yet easy to digest. It’s easy to get swept away in the story and find yourself at the end, already, without realizing it. Then the characters, the mysteries, the strangeness of Carrick continue to haunt you afterward, like fog draped echoes.
Needless to say, I would definitely recommend this book!
x P.L. McMillan