Short Story #369: The Book by H. P. Lovecraft
Title: The Book
Author: H. P. Lovecraft
Summary:The nameless first-person narrator encounters a book in an abandoned shack in the woods. He can feel the menacing power of the book and is curious of it. After he fails to sell it, he begins to explore it. His first venture into the book changes the ways he sees the world. He no longer just sees the normal world but other layers of mystery layered upon it. This strange vision leads him to become more quiet and reserved as he begins to lose sense of where one begins and the other ends. Later, he tries a ritual wherein he finds himself on an entirely different plane of existence and it is clear that there are dark things about as well as new knowledge to acquire. In this world, he finds a city that he wishes to approach but as he does he is overcome with fear and awakes back in his room, realizing he has almost traversed into something from which he may not be able to return from.
ReflectionThough this is known as an incomplete story, it still fits as a very short story. It gives us enough to understand where it is going and the reader is ever-doubtful that the man will not return to the city in a different world. It also has all the markings of a Lovecraft tale: the knowledge-seeker, the book of powerful knowledge, the knowledge of worlds layered upon our own.
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Source: I read this version of a the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft from Red Skull Publishing (that's their book cover too). However, you can find all of H. P. Lovecraft's work for free at this website.
For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.
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