Friday, January 20, 2012

The American Club, - Christopher Morris

A story with layers of meaning, it leaves the reader with many questions unanswered, but that's fine by me. Elements of Jeckyll and Hyde, and The Spiderwick Chronicles

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When Daniel Polzer receives a phone call informing him that his father is dying in a hospital in Ockham, Wisconsin, he is forced to abandon his school work during finals week and rush to his bedside. His father Edgar Polzer is the victim of an anonymous hit and run accident. As Daniel sits vigil at his bedside with his sister Sarah who has also returned home, we discover that Edgar has been displaying increasingly strange and paranoid behavior, particularly just prior to his accident. He fears the family home is haunted, he believes that he is being watched and followed. Without giving any more away, the story centers around a Faustian collection of tales, one of which has been penned by Daniel’s father. You have to read this gripping tale to find out the significance of the title. The setting in Wisconsin, and certain elements of the story reminded me at times of something we might encounter in a tale penned by Peter Straub, but Christopher Morris’s voice is his own, and the title and its significance is incorporated into the tale in an interesting way. The story made me want to turn the pages to discover what was going to happen next.

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“The American Club” by Christopher Morris follows a young man named Daniel who discovers that his eccentric writer of a father is in a coma following a car accident. Daniel finds a letter from his dad instructing him that in the event of his death, he should to burn all his fiction, the majority of which is unpublished. This is a top class mystery that unravels with perfect pace and likeable voice, and has a tense finale that leaves an unsettling aftertaste.

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The American Club by Christopher Morris is a griping dark story which sees a son dicover his father’s hidden talent for writing and the dark secret behind that talent.

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The American Club by Christopher Morris is a brilliant tale, Daniel Polzer is a student sitting his final exams, but when he hears that his father has been put in hospital after a hit and run accident, he has to rush home. When he gets there he discovers that his father has been acting odd, and it all seems to centre around a collection of tales. A highly enjoyable read.

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“The American Club” also features a doppelganger, of sorts. The narrator delves into the enigma of his dying father’s writing but uncovers an unpalatable explanation for his father’s refusal to publish his work. This is an intense study of the subconscious. A ruined building with its decaying staircases and abandoned cellars acts as a metaphor for the writer’s twisted imagination and reflects an over-arching theme of this collection – the horror of the literary imagination. As writers in search of horror we become subjects of our own literary endeavours. What could be worse? The author, Christopher Morris, is astute enough to leave the ending insubstantial, to give the reader the merest hint of the dark truth.
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Any further reviews after 20 Jan 12 will appear in the comments below.

My own views: http://horroranthology.wordpress.com/editors-story-by-story-commentary/

2 comments:

Weirdmonger said...

The tales that really gripped me were Colin Insole’s ‘The Apoplexy of Beelzebub’, Tony Lovell’s ‘The Follower’, Christopher Morris’s ‘The American Club’ and Reggie Oliver’s ‘Flowers of the Sea.’ HERE

Weirdmonger said...

and Christopher Morris’s ‘The American Club’, an atmospheric piece about a young man finding his dying father’s unpublished fiction, with a nice build-up and a tense but understated ending.