Written in 1861, this short book is a collection of epitaphs found in graveyards in the British Isles.
Ranging from humorous to tragic, from bearing awful puns to downright sarcastic, it is amazing what people allow on their tombstones, the most cynical epitaph being the gravestone remarking on the purity and innocence of the twelve-year-old child buried beneath, but some wiseacre added the inscription saying that she had not yet reached the age of thirteen.
As you can see by the rest of the reviews, you will either hate this book or you will love it. In spite of its flaws, this reviewer enjoyed it.
All of the famous Beat authors have a presence here: Jack Kerouac and Neal Casaday being the two main protagonists with William Burroughs jumping in later in the story.
I am hard pressed to call it a parody. I don't think anybody could read the seventh chapter and not say this novel is solidly placed in the arena of horror. I would rather call it a pastiche of Kerouac that takes place in the cosmos of H. P. Lovecraft.
This book just might be your five-star review or you may give up after the first two chapters.
Only one way to find out.
C. Alan Loewen
Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951) was a prolific short story writer and novelist and had a huge impact on many different authors, one being H. P. Lovecraft himself who heaped praise on the man, especially his story The Willows. Interestingly, Blackwood was a strong critic of Lovecraft’s work (see Mike Ashley’s biography of Blackwood for confirmation).
The Man Whom The Trees Loved is a fantasy novella and this reviewer is hard pressed to call it a horror story. At the most it is more akin to dark fantasy, yet still an interesting read about a woman trying to save her husband’s soul from his enchantment with the forest that borders their home.
The Little Girl Who Was Taught by Experience is a ham-fisted morality tale written in 1827 when good little girls were admired for their altruism and docility.
Lucy is a motherless child who, because of her doting father, becomes a little monster, a bad seed, a tiny tyrant.
Her aunt takes Lucy into her home for a year allows Lucy to learn through bad choices the difference between right and wrong.
In the story, Lucy makes a bad decision which ends up with a costly dress destroyed and in the end of the story she comes quite close to killing herself and repents on what might have been her deathbed.
There are reasons you don't see stories for children like this anymore.