In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Now that the weather is finally turning gloomy, you might be looking for an atmospheric read. Look no further! This book blends folklore, English countryside, mysterious books, missing children, and a wood that beckons....
I enjoyed Bailey's short stories that I also read this year, and I may have a slight preference for those because they were more along the lines of dark fantasy and sometimes humorous, always full of humanity. Sometimes I felt trapped in this book because it gets a bit circular, and you know that the characters are doing dangerous things and the author is just going to make you watch it happen! But that's part of the overall tone of the novel that is so effective. Some of the characters feel more like archetypes than individuals, but again, that suits the book too since there is a layer in it of another book, also called In the Night Wood.
At the heart of the story is a damaged marriage, with both people destroyed by grief with an added undercurrent of infidelity that hasn't even started to be dealt with. That may be the greater horror in the end.
(I marked this little part:)
"They were silent then, listening to the sound of their marriage calve around them, like a glacier, like sea ice, as fragile and as cold.
'Pass the salt, please,' he said."
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