I think I read this because I came across an interview of Paul Tremblay (the author of “A Head Full of Ghosts”) either saying he had been reading this book or recommended it or some such. I must be entering a “Halloween Reading” mood.
The book is gripping / horrifying / crass all at the same time. Christian Bobinski is the narrator of sorts, returning to the small village of Hemmersmoor (in Germany) where he grew up for a funeral. He is now aging, and the stories are those of the children he grew up with. “Time is of no importance.”
Many of the character narratives had me writing “What the Hell?!” inside the book. The stories are intertwined, but they aren’t telling one master story, if that makes sense. They are sort of piece-meal. Because some of the subject matter isn’t pleasant, I found it hard to care about the characters. Some of them are real assholes.
Christian is the most engaging of all, a child murderer, though never caught. Was he possessed? We don’t know if he continued the murders as an adult or not. Two stories are worth the price of admission alone. The first, is Christian’s narrative of his sister Ingrid’s death in the beginning, and his dealings with Rico (a/k/a THE DEVIL HIMSELF). The second story, is around the middle of the book and is told by Linde. She encounters the lost heir over at the manor house in a maze on the property and it is FANTASTIC. I could read an entire book about the discovery of the mad Professor in the lost hedge maze of a grand/yet deteriorating mansion on the moor. Hands down one of the most engaging short stories I have read in a long time.
It was evocative of Alice and the Mad Hatter. I like it when insanity is fun, not scary. “Time is of no importance.”
I liked both of those stories a lot. I can see why the book has been compared to “The Brothers Grimm.” Those fairy tales weren’t for children either.