Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Roll Them Bones

Thomas Wolfe famously said, “You can’t go home again.” In David Niall Wilson’s 2003 novella, Roll Them Bones, maybe the lesson is “If you can go home, you probably shouldn’t”.

Four high school friends reunite in their home town, years after they were participants in a horrible incident, one that has haunted their thoughts and dreams for all the time since. They have been summoned by one of their number to revisit the site of the incident, where a house that burned down on that fateful night has mysteriously disappeared. They are forced to confront not only what they did, but who they have become. It is a fascinating look at how humans struggle to overcome their flaws, as well as a horror story. (This is the second great Halloween-themed novella I’ve read in the last couple of years, along with Norman Partridge’s Dark Harvest, and both will be perpetual reads of mine in Octobers to come). You have the childhood bully who seems to be trying to be a better person, the writer who is trying to work out his problems in the books he writes, and the two former lovers who find their feelings have not changed as much as they thought.

I haven’t read everything David Niall Wilson (This Is My Blood, Maelstrom, Ennui & Other States of Madness) has written (I am working on it), but I have never read anything that disappointed me. He consistently rises above what people imagine to be the restrictions of the genre. Roll Them Bones is no exception. Even though Halloween is still a few months away, this is well worth picking up. It was #12 in Cemetery Dance books’ novella series, and is still available through various on-line merchants.


Jim Mcleod said...

Kent, Pick the Rev Cleutus novella, and Ancient Eyes, they are my two favourites.

KentAllard said...

Ancient Eyes I have read and liked. The Cletus novella I haven't gotten to, but that is the fault of my out-of-control TBR pile. I never catch up.