I am going to start this with a bit of a confession. I feel like this is a cheater thought. See, I read this book roughly twenty years ago and haven’t gotten too far into it again right now. This is actually my third time reading Shadowland (Berkley edition 1981) by Peter Straub. The first two times I read it were back those twenty some odd years ago.
At first, I thought I was going to be rehashing my memories of the book (hence feeling like I might be cheating a bit). There are plenty of memories attached that I could fill up quite a bit of babble to make things look like I knew something. But I ran into a snag, I was skimming to see if I could get some names and such again to refresh my thoughts and I ended up reading through the final chapter.
So, what started out as some flashes of memory that drew me back to the story. Yeah, I don’t know where they came from but I knew the things I was reflecting on had come from this book. I saw some things in that chapter that sparked something else. The strange idea of happenstance and coincidence.
See, the story itself is written as a reflection. The main story is a memory of a time period 20 years in the past of when the beginning and ending of the book take place. And so I read the book about 20 years ago, which in turn was close to the 20 year anniversary of the first printing of the book (yeah, I know 17 years isn’t really 20 but close enough in this weirdness).
Our minds work in some very strange ways…
But I digress. The whole way I wanted to approach this reading changed with the realizations. I am now going to go through the book again and see how it all comes together in my mind with who I am now. I want to see if what I remember holds up to what I have pictured in my head. You know the deal, check the reality against nostalgia.
There are moments in the book I can still see clearly. For instance, the dog fight scene on the uncle’s property. In my mind, it wasn’t a scene that necessarily pushed the plot along. Its purpose was more to share the evil nature of the uncle as we begin to delve into the darkness of his world. Now I could be wrong, but that seems a plausible connection I can make right now. There are a number of scenes coming to the surface of memory for me that have become a siren song. I am compelled to delve into this world again and see the magic at its core.
But really for me this is the concept of the book itself. See, at the heart of the book, it is a struggle for power and magic. This all ties in with the oddity of why it hit me to read it now. The power of three and the strength of repeated moments lends into the oddity of stuff going on in my subconscious mind. Maybe, I’m crazy. I guess we are going to have to read the book and find out.
Are there any books that have called to you, long after you read them the first time? A scratch of memory begging to be itched? Or maybe I am a little crazy and I am subject to the whims of my imagination…
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.