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THE DREAM OF THE FISHERMAN’S WIFE – a Cthulhu review

September 12, 2011

I am haunted by the John Hornor Jacobs short story THE DREAM OF THE FISHERMAN’S WIFE, found in the THE BOOK OF CTHULHU anthology.

It’s a hypnotic tale awash in luscious sentences and dreamy writing. It’s a compact short story with a languid, swelling progress towards the central event, which made me physically cringe–kudos to you, sir–followed by a denouement that had been there, waiting, since that beautiful first sentence. He writes with a pitch-perfect narrative filter, a dreamy voice to tell this tale about the night when Laura, a young waitress in a small coastal town, accepts a date with a yachting Lothario who’s been courting her. What happens next, lemmejussay, I did not see that coming–in a good way.

This is a Cthulhu story from bladderwrack to gushing waves. I find it interesting that it also felt to me like a Nathaniel Hawthorne story, where one desire can bring down all the world’s illusions. Hawthorne’s short stories are rich with accounts of young, good, men who turn a corner and find the world has changed. Jacobs hits that liminal zone, he sets it up and sends convincing characters into it. The little observations Laura makes about her Lothario tells me Jacobs has a terrific eye for important details. He did a superb job using those details to create an evocative story with so few words.

Jacobs caught my attention a few weeks back with his contribution to The Big Idea. He wrote there about the big idea behind his debut novel SOUTHERN GODS, a hardboiled cthulhu story.

Now that I’ve read this short story by Jacobs, I’m even more excited to read SOUTHERN GODS.

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One Comment
  1. Thank you for the kind words! I’m really glad you liked it.

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