Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book Review | The Thing on the Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft

The Thing on the Doorstep is a horror novelette from H.P. Lovecraft.

The Thing on the Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft

"The Thing on the Doorstep" is a short story written by H.P. Lovecraft, part of the Cthulhu Mythos universe of horror fiction. It was written in August 1933, and first published in the January 1937 issue of Weird Tales.

Daniel Upton, the story's narrator, begins by telling that he has killed his best friend, Edward Derby, and that he hopes his account will prove that he is not a murderer...

I've probably read more things derived from Lovecraft than actual Lovecraft tales, but I've been making an effort to read Lovecraft more the last few years.

I was a little leery heading into reading The Thing on the Doorstep simply because it is part of the Cthulhu mythos. While I have enjoyed many of the derivative works, I haven't had success with the original Cthulhu stories. I'm much more drawn to stories like The Shunned House and The Horror at Red Hook. I love hauntings and atmosphere and let's not forget the phosphorescence.

I have a whole new love for Lovecraft after reading The Thing on the Doorstep, though.

The Thing on the Doorstep was not an easy story to get into. Lovecraft's writing is probably why I have abandoned many Lovecraft stories over the years. It took me three tries of picking up The Thing on the Doorstep and starting over from the beginning to finally connect with it. I had to slow down and keep rereading to grasp what Lovecraft was saying through his complex and excessive writing style. Once the story got underway, though, his writing was much more accessible.

I say that as a warning to stick with it and not a warning to stay away from it. In the end, I absolutely loved The Thing on the Doorstep. I don't want to give any spoilers so I will just give you the opening sentence:

"It is true that I have sent six bullets through the head of my best friend, and yet I hope to show by this statement that I am not his murderer."

It's only 40 pages long so I'm not going to divulge what is happening.

There was so much I loved about The Thing on the Doorstep - the characters, the atmosphere, the suspense. I really enjoyed the storytelling despite the bloated writing.

I'm in the mood to spend my October reading short horror so you will probably hear more about Lovecraft before the month has ended. I'm looking forward to revisiting and persevering through some of the Lovecraft tales that didn't work for me in the past.

As for The Thing on the Doorstep, it is currently my favorite Lovecraft tale.

9/10: Highly Recommended

Have you read any Lovecraft? I would love to hear your favorite Lovecraft story if you have one!

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8 comments:

  1. For all I love horror, I've never read Lovecraft and never really wanted to!

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    1. I can understand that, Chuckles. My first few attempts made me think Lovecraft was not for me. I'm definitely coming around more and more on loving Lovecraft, but I will probably never say I enjoy his writing style.

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  2. Okay, obviously I need to read more Lovecraft! I've only read a few of his short stories and probably remember The Rats in the Walls the best. But I love that first line! :)

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    1. Thank you for mentioning The Rats in the Walls! I will have to push that one toward the top. Tonight I am reattempting The Call of Cthulhu. 😬 Hopefully I can fit in a few Lovecraft this month. The Thing on the Doorstep was a definite win for me.

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  3. I've only ever read The Cats of Ulthar. You must read that one, if you haven't already. It's short and dark.

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    1. Thank you! I will definitely read that one. :)

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    2. I loved it. It's too short for him to get too wordy!

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    3. I think you are on to something. I read this one today, and yes - it was totally minus all the bloat! I'm thinking the shorter the better. :) Thank you so much for the suggestion. That was a fun one!

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