Posts Tagged ‘gloomy’

Dead Love

April 4, 2012

Author: Linda Watanabe McFerrin

Title: Dead Love

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 304

Geographical Setting: Tokyo, Haiti, Amsterdam, Malaysia, Singapore

Time Period: Present

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary: Okay, here goes: Eighteen year old dancer Erin Orison (our narrator), a gloomy – but incredibly hot – product of European boarding schools, is summoned to Tokyo by her (evil!) father, also the U.S. Ambassador to Japan (as well as an important cog in the Consortium, an international secret society intent on unleashing supernatural evil upon the world), to appear in a production scripted by a famed Japanese choreographer.  After being somewhat murdered by Ryu, her bodyguard come lover and Yakuza assassin, Erin awakens in a hospital morgue a not-quite zombie, the full transformation having been botched by an unknowing hospital intern.  Erin is now caught in between a human and zombie existence, possessing consciousness and self-will, albeit in a hazy, dream-like state.  Enter Clement, the puppet master behind all these doings.  Clement is a ghoul (a ghoul being an eternal yet formless being that inhabits, and feeds upon, recently deceased corpses) and has been stricken from afar for Erin since she was an infant.  What ensues is a hunt around the globe for Erin (and the microchip inside her body that would unveil the Consortium’s dastardly plans).

Subject Headings:  Zombies, Conspiracies, Supernatural, Dance, Voodoo, Vampires—Dutch, Yakuza, Ghouls, Tokyo, Haiti, Amsterdam, Malaysia, Singapore, Secret societies, Assassination, Manga, Nightclubs, Pursuit.

Appeal:  Dreamlike, surreal, psychedelic, atmospheric, dark, foreboding, otherworldly, melancholy, moody, mystical, nightmare, eccentric, complex, well-crafted, literary, aggressive, brooding, menacing, weary, gloomy, bleak, eerie, ominous, stylish.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Surreal, atmospheric, eerie.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Theories of International Politics and Zombies by Daniel W. Drezner

A professor of international politics, Drezner attempts to explain different theories on international political systems by supposing the various schools supposed reactions to the world being overrun by zombie hordes.  For instance, how would a realpolitik reaction to zombies differ from, say, a neoconservative one.  Could there be human-zombie alliances for political gain or security?  And would shock and awe be so shocking to the already dead?

The Epic of Kings: Hero Tales of Ancient Persia by Firdausi

This book is suggested by McFerrin in a footnote contained in Dead Love regarding the origins of ghouls.  These myths and legends from the ancient world include ghouls, demons, jinn, and many other supernatural rabble-rousers.

Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting by W. Scott Poole

From colonial times, monsters have always loomed large in American culture.  This compendium examines the various things that have scared our nation senseless over the course of generations.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service by Eiji Ōtsuka and Housui Yamazaki

Not only is one of Dead Love’s chapters presented in manga form, the prose does well in evoking the visual moodiness of some supernaturally concerned manga.  In this on-going horror series, a group of students at a Buddhist college, each of whom possesses a special “power”, go into business collecting corpses while acting out the last wishes of the dead.

Thirsty by M.T. Anderson

Chris’s only desire is to be a normal teenager: hang out with friends, pursue his high school crush, etc.. Chris also lives in a world where vampires are hunted down and killed like vermin.  Much like Erin, Chris has embarked on a slow, agonizing descent toward supernatural damnation, this time by way of vampirism.  Much like Clement, Chris has his own other-dimensional puppet-master in Chet the Celestial Being, a servant of a vampire lord.  This book is also hilarious.

Magic For Beginners by Kelly Link

This very highly acclaimed collection of bizarre and humorous short stories includes the likes of zombies, witches, ghosts, superheroes and a whole bevy of supernatural delights.

Name: Bill S.

The Almost Moon

June 14, 2010

June 14, 2010

Author: Alice Sebold

Title: The Almost Moon

Genre: Psychological Fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Geographical Setting: Pennsylvania

Time Period: Present with reflections on the past

Plot Summary: Helen Knightly is the 49 year-old divorced mother of two grown daughters. She has been divorced for twenty years and is a professional art class model. She lives in a small town in Pennsylvania where she grew up. Helen is an only child and the primary caretaker for her 88 year-old mother, Claire, who still lives in the house in which Helen grew up. The story begins with Helen’s admission (very matter-of-factly) of having killed her mother. She believes that the dementia her mother suffered revealed the core of the real person and that her mother’s core was “rotten like the brackish water at the bottom of a week’s old vase of flowers.” Helen continues with a brief reminiscence of how her mother was beautiful when Helen’s dad met her. Within the first chapter, the reader becomes privy to the details leading up to Claire’s demise, and the act itself – suffocation at the hands of her daughter. Helen had always had a love/hate relationship with her mother. Even while growing up, she experienced nightmares about killing her mother. Claire suffered from mental illness that was compounded by agoraphobia. Helen and her dad had code phrases when dealing with especially difficult aspects of Claire’s illness – “it’s a hard day” and “it’s a good day” would say it all for what Helen could expect to deal with on any particular day. As Helen wends deeper into her story, the reader discovers that the murderous deed was not done out of hate, but rather out of frustration with, and ultimately love for her mother. Helen knew it would torture Claire unbearably to be moved from her home and sanctuary, her fortress of protection from the outside world to a hospice. She wanted to spare her mother any more pain and torture. Helen went so far as to carefully and tenderly wash Claire’s body before placing it in the basement freezer (where police later found it).
Helen moves back and forth in time, recalling memories of her past and circumstances in the present. Her father committed suicide when Helen was a teenager, and when he was alive, he would leave home for long periods of time as a coping mechanism for Claire’s illness. This left Helen alone to deal with Claire. She recalls times with her ex-husband and she called him for help after killing her mother. He immediately hops a plane and comes to Helen’s aid. The reader becomes “intimate” with Helen’s feelings about her family and friends and her past experiences. All the while, Helen is struggling with how she should handle the situation. She finally arrives at a decision, taking into account the emotional needs of her family and friends.

Subject Headings: matricide, mentally ill women, mother and adult daughter, middle-aged women, divorced women, mothers – death, detachment (psychology), family relationships, murder, childhood innocence (concept), mother and daughter, parent and child, senior women, and psychological fiction.

Appeal Terms: disturbing, emotional, empathetic, probing, reflective, vexing, warped, sobering, bittersweet, gloomy, melancholy, searching, and thought provoking.

Three terms that best describe this book: emotional, disturbing, and reflective.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The doctor’s daughter : a novel by Hilma Wolitzer portrays a woman who must come to terms with her personal past and present, and her own family history.

Crazy as chocolate : a novel by Elisabeth Hyde tells the story of two sisters whose mother had battled with depression and mental illness for most of her life, finally committed suicide at age 41. Sibling and parent/child relationships are explored.

Mercy by Jodi Picoult deals with the subject of euthanasia and its effects on family. Family relationships are explored within immediate and extended family.

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Lerner covers interpersonal relationships, women’s psychology, self-help in anger management, anger in family relationships, and self-help in women’s personal growth & happiness.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion is an autobiographical portrait of marriage and motherhood. Didion gives her account of personal struggles with life, death, illness, sanity, and grief.

Woman’s inhumanity to woman by Phyllis Chesler deals with indirect aggression among girls and teenagers; mother-daughter relationships in fairy tale, myth, and Greek tragedy; gives psychoanalytic views of the mother-daughter relationship; sisters and the search for best friends; women in the workplace; and women in groups. It discusses the “good enough” mother and her persecution of the “good enough” daughter and the psychological ethics involved in women’s issues.