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Grey Dog af Elliott Gish
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Grey Dog (udgave 2024)

af Elliott Gish (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
302805,332 (3.6)Ingen
"A subversive literary horror novel that disrupts the tropes of women's historical fiction with delusions, wild beasts, and the uncontainable power of female rage The year is 1901, and Ada Byrd -- spinster, schoolmarm, amateur naturalist -- accepts a teaching post in isolated Lowry Bridge, grateful for the chance to re-establish herself where no one knows her secrets. She develops friendships with her neighbors, explores the woods with her students, and begins to see a future in this tiny farming community. Her past -- riddled with grief and shame -- has never seemed so far away. But then, Ada begins to witness strange and grisly phenomena: a swarm of dying crickets, a self-mutilating rabbit, a malformed faun. She soon believes that something old and beastly -- which she calls Grey Dog -- is behind these visceral offerings, which both beckon and repel her. As her confusion deepens, her grip on what is real, what is delusion, and what is traumatic memory loosens, and Ada takes on the wildness of the woods, behaving erratically and pushing her newfound friends away. In the end, she is left with one question: What is the real horror? The Grey Dog, the uncontainable power of female rage, or Ada herself?"--… (mere)
Medlem:icolford
Titel:Grey Dog
Forfattere:Elliott Gish (Forfatter)
Info:ECW Press (2024), 400 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Grey Dog af Elliott Gish

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Young, talented, well-acquainted with 18th and 19th century gothic horror and dark fiction, Elliot Gish has launched her debut novel, which is relatively accomplished, and certainly makes for an interesting read.

What is the novel about? The marketing blurb:

The year is 1901, and Ada Byrd ― spinster, schoolmarm, amateur naturalist ― accepts a teaching post in isolated Lowry Bridge, grateful for the chance to re-establish herself where no one knows her secrets. She develops friendships with her neighbors, explores the woods with her students, and begins to see a future in this tiny farming community. Her past ― riddled with grief and shame ― has never seemed so far away.

But then, Ada begins to witness strange and grisly phenomena: a swarm of dying crickets, a self-mutilating rabbit, a malformed faun. She soon believes that something old and beastly ― which she calls Grey Dog ― is behind these visceral offerings, which both beckon and repel her. As her confusion deepens, her grip on what is real, what is delusion, and what is traumatic memory loosens, and Ada takes on the wildness of the woods, behaving erratically and pushing her newfound friends away. In the end, she is left with one question: What is the real horror? The Grey Dog, the uncontainable power of female rage, or Ada herself?

Elliott Gish herself is a writer and librarian from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and that Maritime familiarity with small villages and tight communities certainly informs much of the flavour and ambiance of the fictional world she creates. Lowry Bridge, while set near Portsmouth, England, could be any isolated community on Canada’s East Coast, particularly in the early 20th century. There is a Hardian atmosphere in this world, a brooding presence in the landscape, let alone the people. And like much of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, there are characters awash in secrets.

Gish has told Ada Byrd’s story through journal entries, not an easy format to maintain throughout an entire novel, but she does so with ease and interest. The depth of character this has allowed her is handled deftly, and while doing so Gish gives homage to some of the great Classical writers: Hardy, the Bronte sisters, even Stoker and Shelley. There is a brooding malevolence which weaves through both environmental and character descriptions, a sense there is something not quite right with some members of the village of Lowry Bridge, and the forest which abuts it. I was minded toward the end of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and the elusive person of Kurtz, and while Marlow does eventually meet this legendary character, Ada Byrd never does meet the dark force known simply as the Grey Dog. In many ways, the forest, and the Grey Dog, are metaphysical metaphors of Ada’s own mental fragility and fears.

Ada’s descent from educated and dedicated schoolmistress into madness and a bestial state seems inevitable, predetermined by what she has endured at the hands of a brutal and manipulative father, the powerful allure of a wealthy widow, and the social mores of the time. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion, or knowing the protagonist standing in front of the basement door is going to open it and walk down into darkness and horror. It’s that ability of a writer to draw upon our most primal fears and lay them down as inevitable.

And yet Gish has refrained from the current affectation of splatter and gore. Watching the horror unfold in Grey Dog is like a dance of the seven veils: provocative, seductive, often subtle. I applaud her for her restraint and craftsmanship.

However, it is important for the reader of this review to know I am mostly ambivalent to this genre, so for Gish to have garnered my interest and nod is quite something. Sure, there are nits I could pick, but they are minor and mostly attributable to my own pet peeves. Given that, I’d have to say any lover of modern gothic horror is going to love Grey Dog. And if this is Gish’s debut novel, I can only imagine with interest what might be coming next. ( )
  fiverivers | Jun 11, 2024 |
In Grey Dog, it’s late summer 1901. Ada Byrd is approaching her thirtieth birthday and embarking on a new teaching post in the tiny, remote village of Lowry Bridge. Moving to Lowry Bridge is not something Ada wanted to do. Though intelligent, sharply observant, and a book lover, teaching is not her profession of choice. Shy by nature and profoundly introverted, the prospect of facing a room full of indifferent, probably insolent, possibly even hostile children day-in and day-out fills her with dread. But as an unattached woman nearing life’s mid-point, her options are few. Ada’s true love is the natural world. She likes nothing better than to wander through the woods observing flora and fauna in their natural habitat, the unending cycle of life and death. This is how she and her younger sister Florrie used to spend their free hours, exploring the forest near their home and collecting mementos and curiosities, which they would hide in their room. As the story begins, Ada is reeling from a pair of traumatic personal setbacks: Florrie’s death at the hands of an abusive husband and the humiliation of being dismissed from her previous posting before the school year was even finished. These ordeals have left her wounded and unsure of her place in the world, but also determined to succeed in her new post. Elliott Gish’s gripping novel consists of Ada’s journal entries, which describe in minute detail her experiences, impressions and emotions from her arrival in Lowry Bridge to the novel’s unsettling denouement. Ada’s time in Lowry Bridge revolves around school and the relationships she forms with a few of the village’s residents. She is staying with the Griers, husband and wife: simple, generous, god-fearing people but not particularly communicative. More importantly, Ada befriends Agatha, the guileless, free-spirited wife of the local preacher, and believes she’s found someone with whom she can speak her mind and be herself. But there are sinister forces at work in Lowry Bridge, and in the novel’s second half these forces creep out from the shadows and slowly infiltrate Ada’s thoughts and influence her behaviour. Against Mrs. Grier’s wishes Ada befriends Mrs. Kinsley, a wealthy widow reputed by some to be a witch. Late one evening, walking home alone after dark, Ada is swarmed by crickets, the first in a series of unnerving phenomena involving forces of nature that Ada endures but can’t speak of because these events pass and leave no trace behind. Then Ada hears a voice calling her name from the forest. And a visit to the home of a student named Muriel, a peculiar child with no friends and a watchful, impudently knowing manner, leaves Ada wishing she’d left well enough alone. In the novel’s eerie latter sections Ada no longer knows whom to trust, begins doubting her sanity, and withdraws into herself, alienating students and friends alike until she is completely isolated. Ada Byrd’s story is one of a young woman driven to extremes by inscrutable forces beyond her understanding, forces she finds repellant but to which she is inexplicably drawn. Thrown into this heady mix is her tragic and troubling backstory, over which her straitlaced, cruelly disparaging father looms like a true monster.

Elliott Gish’s debut novel speaks eloquently of female desire and rage, barely contained. Written with poise and confidence, Grey Dog is a vividly imagined work that often leaves the reader breathless. ( )
  icolford | May 15, 2024 |
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"A subversive literary horror novel that disrupts the tropes of women's historical fiction with delusions, wild beasts, and the uncontainable power of female rage The year is 1901, and Ada Byrd -- spinster, schoolmarm, amateur naturalist -- accepts a teaching post in isolated Lowry Bridge, grateful for the chance to re-establish herself where no one knows her secrets. She develops friendships with her neighbors, explores the woods with her students, and begins to see a future in this tiny farming community. Her past -- riddled with grief and shame -- has never seemed so far away. But then, Ada begins to witness strange and grisly phenomena: a swarm of dying crickets, a self-mutilating rabbit, a malformed faun. She soon believes that something old and beastly -- which she calls Grey Dog -- is behind these visceral offerings, which both beckon and repel her. As her confusion deepens, her grip on what is real, what is delusion, and what is traumatic memory loosens, and Ada takes on the wildness of the woods, behaving erratically and pushing her newfound friends away. In the end, she is left with one question: What is the real horror? The Grey Dog, the uncontainable power of female rage, or Ada herself?"--

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