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Entranced And Terrified, The Reader Of The Other Is Swept Up In The Life Of A Connecticut Country Town In The Thirties And In The Fearful Mysteries That Slowly Darken And Overwhelm ItOriginally Published In , The Other Is One Of The Most Influential Horror Novels Ever Written Its Impeccable Recreation Of Small Town Life And Its Skillful Handling Of The Theme Of Personality Transference Between Thirteen Year Old Twins Led To Widespread Critical Acclaim For The Novel, Which Was Successfully Filmed From Thomas Tryon S Own ScreenplayThis Edition Features Original Artwork By Surrealist Artist Harry O Morris Oh my, now that was just full of creepy greatness Although I knew the premise of the book and sensed that something just didn t feel right from the beginning, I did not see the big reveal coming Of course, I look back now and can see all the clues nicely sprinkled throughout and wonder why I didn t put two and two together sooner And then with 30% of the book remaining after the big reveal, I wondered at how much was there left to keep me interested in the book Oh, there was plenty remaining to give me the heebie jeebies The shivers just kept coming and coming right to the very end And I m still thinking about certain scenesAlso, the audio narration by William Dufris was fantastic. Twins With different birthdays How unusual Indeed for identical twins, very Oh yes, there were the mixed signs, on the cusp, as one says they should have beenalike nevertheless, the difference Holland a Pisces, fish slippery, now one thing, now another Niles an Aries, a ram blithely butting at obstacles Growing side by side, but somehow not together Strange Time and again Holland would retreat, Niles pursue, Holland withdraw again, reticent, taciturn, a snail in its shell The Udvarnoky twins play Holland and Niles in the 1972 movie version of the book.This is yet another entry in my ongoing SALUTE to horror books from the 1970s For those of you that have traveled these nail biting, shadow ridden, teeth chattering, knee knocking trails with me you are in for a real treat if you DARE to read this book I m not going to be able to discuss plot very much because this is a book that the pleasure resides in the building of tension and the twists and turns that slowly reveal the true horror happening at Pequod Landing I certainly do not want to give away anything that will take away that growing sense of unease you will experience reading this book The other very pleasant surprise is how well written the book is It is certainly on par with The Shining and maybe because it has agothic bend to the tale the literary value just naturally rises in my eyes Let me share with you Thomas Tryon s description of a stormIt held off till shortly before eleven The first appearing lightning was nothan a snap Clouds like blue black ink had spilled out of the west, spreading before the hot wind, now doing violence to the orchard It hurled apples to the ground like bombs, cracked limbs, scattered leaves in a panic, bowed the long grass as it swept up through the meadow past the barn, shook the tops of the firs, rattled the horse chestnut tree in a frenzy, punished the grapes in the arbor.Another flash.More flashes.The sound of a shingle splitting, ending with an enormous crack, followed by a low booming roll Now a lurid light washed the black shapes outside they glowed eerily Niles shut his eyes, waiting for the clap to follow Before it died, the rain came long shafts like arrows arching down the sky, stinging wet and cold in his faceI love the imagery that Tyron conveys here It brought back memories of Kansas storms from when I was a kid that used to appear on the horizon as black, boiling, menacing, living creatures that would swoop down on us like wraiths hurling hailstones, battering us with rain, and making us shiver with deep booming thunder that would rattle glass and bone Movie poster from 1972 So the twins are very different from one another, but their actions allow the adults to tell them apart Holland isaggressive,likely to cause trouble, and Niles isthoughtful and a constant counter balance to Holland sdevious plans Holland has a blue black dot on his ring finger that will prove to be an interesting clue in the novel s plot He had been stabbed by his cousin Russell with a pencil and some of the graphite had nestled under the skin creating a tattoo, a dot that will never go away I too have a blue black graphite dot on my wrist I was stabbed by Dean P in fifth grade My offense My Graphite tattoo from Fifth Grade.I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time Dean was a child of varying mood which ranged from just generally pissed off to downright nasty He came over and sat down beside me and then with one swift motion plunged his pencil into my wrist I shoved him open handed in the jaw that knocked him off his chair We came within a whisker of going to see the principal which would have been my second trip that year There was an earlier incident involving an errantly thrown snowball that I had, with what eloquence I possessed then, to explain Interesting part of the story is that both Dean and I made the varsity basketball team our junior year in high school and we both started every game together our senior year as well It was an uneasy alliance, but one that worked born out of a mutual desire to win Niles spends a lot of time in reflection, building his imagination, and honing his view of the world Water and muck are just what they seem to most people, but to NilesHe dropped the cattails in a heap and lay on his belly beside them, head hanging over the platform edge, eyes staring meditatively down a the water It was pleasant there in the shadows It smelled of coolness, like a fern garden like the well once had before they sealed it up From upside down, one piling, gloved with green algae and slime, and larger than the rest, seemed to rear back as though resisting the gray mud that mired it He squinted, looked hard, saw primordial ooze, spawning strange beings down below, a race of quasi lunged, half legged creatures dragging themselves along the bottom a world sunless, gloomy, nocturnal, where sunken logs lay, sodden and heavy, poor dead drowned things, and with them, hidden in the murk, savage bloated creatures, mouths wide as shovels, thick lips nuzzling threads of water whitened ganglia, picking clean of flesh skeletons through whose empty eye sockets coldly glowing eels wound like night trains, while overhead through the ruined roof, pterodactyls soared the vacant sky He drifted,dreamed and dreamed someTryon here reminds me think of the bits of Meryvn Peake I ve read and certainly I can feel Robert Louis Stevenson lurking in the deepest shadows The book is so muchthan I expected The Twins have an addiction to Doc Savage books and comics I remember when I first found a cache of Kenneth Robeson titles with this bronze skinned hero on the cover always with a tattered shirt and lurid graphics to spur the imagination I read through scads of them and wish I still had those books I doubt they would hold up well reading them today, but then they were perfect for a boy who wanted to explore the magic of science and the pure pleasure of rooting for Doc Savage to outsmart a myriad of diabolical villains A sampling of Doc Savage coversSo you may be able to tell that this book worked on many levels for me Certainly I am encouraged to readTryon and can only hope his other work casts the same spell on me as this one Highly recommended Things cannot ever be the same again Not for any of us Not anyWe sometimes reach a point in our lives where we can t ever go back again, we have to go on from there All that was before is past now It went too far Everything has gone too far It must stop, do you see Now it must stop.Nogame No Nogame. The Other by Thomas Tryon is a 2012 NYRB Classics publication Originally published in 1972 For several years I ve added this book to the pile of novels I plan to read for Halloween, but every year it missed the final cut This year I was determined to read it and boy am I glad did Holland and Niles are twin boys growing up during the thirties As with most twins, they seem to have a certain telepathy between them However, they have very different dispositions Holland is the instigator, while Niles dutifully follows his lead Unfortunately, they lost their father in a tragic accident which has left their mother in a state of mental shock Under these circumstances they are pretty much left to their own devices As a result, the boys seem to have drifted further apart, especially after Holland s disturbing tendencies escalate Not only that, their family has been plagued byandtragedy The boys, while directly affected by these sad occurrences often cope by playing a game with their grandmother in which they pretend to be animals or even plants or flowers, literally transferring themselves onto these objects with their minds and imaginations But, as our narrator relates these events, we are uncertain if all is as we have presumed it to be, if we can even trust the storyteller, but worse still, we are held helplessly spellbound as we imagine what emotional punch will be served up next and by whom While everyone says this is a fantastic horror novel, perfect for Halloween reading, it is yet another one of those stories devoid of traditional supernatural elements In fact, this one could just as easily fall into the psychological thriller category However, it has some truly stunning twist that no psychological thriller written today has the capacity to challenge Remember, this book was published in 1972 and without any prior knowledge of the contents or context of the story, I literally gasped out loud on a couple of occasions, and physically experienced goosebumps The story is very, very disturbing and is a reminder of how one s imagination can stray into dangerous territory Although the fantasy of immersing oneself into a role the game the boys played with their grandmother, but which expanded much, much further, was contained within the era in which the book was set but it seemed like an eerie premonition of immersive video game play, when the projection of oneself onto a fantasy character occasionally went horribly awry, where the person was no longer able to separate fantasy from reality Or it could just be another evil child or a Jekyll and Hyde spin, or a chameleon style tale I m rambling thinking out loud The long and short of it is this is a really twisted tale It s slow, with a Gothic flavor, and will certainly play tricks with your mind For its time, it is a thought provoking, smart thriller, and I can see why it has remained to popular all these years Interesting trivia a movie was made, based on this book It was shown frequently on television in the seventies, but while the author helped write the screenplay, he was not happy with the movie adaptation I haven t seen it, but I m going to see if I can find it somehow 4 stars I m very impressed by this classic horror I know I ve been told it is one of those novels that spawned a bunch of lookalikes during the seventies, but rather than being a simple bestseller that everyone and their little fat dog emulated, I personally think that it has a ton of depth and staying power.I think it s a toss up whether the best feature is the narrator s voice or whether it s in the plot twists Both are superb and fascinating and lulling and it s extremely easy to fall into the idea that the author wanted us to believe.Truly, despite a few disturbing images at the beginning of the telling, I was truly entertained by a relatively pastoral childhood that gradually became darker with all of those accidental mishaps You can guess that things go downhill, of course, and with every new revelation, it becomes increasinglyinteresting until it pretty much blew me away I m not saying that it wasn t predictable at a certain point, of course, but what really surprised me was how subtle and well that realization was handled The resolution was completely top notch.You know the story about the evil twin Yeah This is the biggest granddaddy of them all and easily the best one of its kind Totally recommended for all you fans of horror.