The Horror at Red Hook (I)

Here’s the story. It gives us an episode from the life of investigator Thomas F. Malone (and his only appearance in Lovecraft’s stories) – he’s gone mad, of course, as have so many of Lovecraft’s protagonists, tumbled into madness, while the narrators preserve their last vestiges of sanity, expending them in the process of story telling: drained of it, they may then finally follow into the dark. This story is quite concrete in its topography, refering to actual places, actual neighborhoods, such as the Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY – and that is about it as far as realism goes. As usual, Lovecraft doesn’t funnel too much energy into his sociological strata – Red Hook just is, all decaying and steeming, and shall no character dare to mess with it: social immobility rules.

Not in that online version I’ve linked above, but in the printed edition, Joshi style, the story is preceded by an Arthur Machen quote, from a short story of his –

“There are sacraments of evil as well as good about us, and we live and move to my belief in an unknown world, a place where there are caves and shadows and dwellers in twilight. It is possible that man may sometimes return on the track of evolution, and it is my belief that an awful lore is not yet dead.”

The first part is a little trifle at this place with all its theological gravity, more reminiscent of Machen’s topography, his rustling, lush hillsides full of unknown forces whispering in their goblin tongues, than of Lovecraft’s – the last sentence, however, is more to his points. Where does evolution go here? In a backward or in a forward direction? The “track of evolution” promises change, the way Lovecraft loved to implement it – as mutation into the terrible, as one last step to finish the descent from formal, solid civilization into material and/or psychological dissolution once again. There is no way to escape that fate, as the opening paragraphs immediately start to push the reader down there – “all are there, forever falling, falling lovely and amazing”, to quote Nick Cave in an undeliberate circumscription of Lovecraft’s poetics. Down then, it is.


Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. […] whenever I find the resolution to get down to it, as it is so important – I folded my hands into the surface creases of one of these nasty little stories that are less than a pleasure to deal with, folded them and […]

  2. […] whenever I find the resolution to get down to it, as it is so important – I folded my hands into the surface creases of one of these nasty little stories that are less than a pleasure to deal with, folded them and […]


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s