Wednesday, January 19, 2005

4. Sur le Seuil par Patrick Senécal

Sur le Seuil book pictureThis is the first french book I've read this year (and the fourth in my life). It's from the Alire publishing house, a Quebec company that specializes in Quebecois genre writers. Senécal is a fairly popular horror author. I've been searching out Alire books at the used bookstore and this one caught my eye because it was made into a movie that came out last summer. It's about a psychiatrist who is totally burned out on his career and his life. He works in a psychiatric hospital and his complacency and rigid rationality are thrown into turmoil when he takes a famous horror author as a patient. The author in question was found hanging out his apartment window in a catatonic state, having cut off all his own fingers with a paper cutter. As the doctor digs deeper into his case, he uncovers bizarre and supernatural connections between the author's books and real-life tragedies. Of course, these connections can only be explained by the existence of supernatural evil and the doctor's refusal to recognize it leads to more horror and tragedy. I'm not a big fan of horror books and the psychiatrist's stubborness, though quite realistically portrayed, tended to annoy me. In the end, there really is some disturbing stuff. It's not just suggested horror; there's tons of blood, guts, mutilation, necrophilia and devil worship. I'm not sure about this, but his french was stylistically simpler, perhaps even closer to english, than what I've previously read. I found it relatively easy-going. Overall, with caveats for my slow french, I found this book kept me turning the pages and entertained, but it wasn't the richest and deepest of novels I've read.

1 comment:

Jarrett said...

I have never really been into the horror genre myself. I read a bunch of Steven King books when I was in high school, and some Peter Straub books, too. Only Jerusalem's Lot was scary to me, and I doubt it would "get me" now. It always boils down to a supernatural or unexplainable thing.

Ghost stories have always gotten me though, especiallly when it's round the camp fire. That's somewhat explainable, the person isn't resting easy.

I do recommend the short story "House on Jolly Corner" by Henry James. That's a good, weird story.