on Oct. 6, 2012 :
A good, well-crafted story. Great use of language yet still easy to read, vivid characters and descriptions, and a plot that unfolds very nicely. Full marks - and I don't say that very often!
(review of free book)
on Oct. 1, 2012 :
Beverly loves and trusts uncommunicative, artistic Carl, missing him terribly when he fails to visit. When she begins to waste away, it is him and only him she thinks of, needing him. And then he comes. But however idyllic a chick-flick the circumstances seem to create, this nicely-flowing short story had me gnawing at my fingernails. Flinching at symptoms described with succinct gore. Eyes widening in slow realisation of Carl’s absolute betrayal. Though at its core a story of love, this is no soppy romance. Mary Ann Mitchell’s The Hyacinth Girl tells a slowly creeping tale of intimacy gone horribly wrong in the worst sense.
I have not read the award-winning novel which was inspired by this short story - I plan to at one point now, though - so can write uninfluenced by any previous opinions on the story concept. And, my uninfluenced opinion is that this concept is enthralling. Repellent - as all good horror concepts should be - but so wonderfully thought-provoking and novel. Mitchell has created a highly-relatable protagonist in Beverly, and Carl is so intriguing and intense. Not quite evil but far from good, this selfish man, driven by fear, comes across as neither selfish nor cowardly in demeanour. This makes him all the more threatening, and his confessions all the more unbelievable. My main critique of the writing is - and this, I’m sure, is a matter of opinion - that occasionally the dialogue seems a touch staged, not quite realistic.
I was very much drawn into The Hyacinth Girl, an example of my favourite type of horror - subtle and disarming. By the time I read the final words I almost felt ill, stomach unsettled and head gone fuzzy. And this is without buckets of blood. It was the notion, the story concept, that got to me. I am sure, in the dark and silence of pre-sleep, my thoughts will stray to Carl and his perfect drawings for days to come.
(review of free book)