Summerbook #1: The Return

This was billed as "one of de la Mare's finest occult stories, this darkly thrilling tale."  It sounded neat, so I took it home.

Arthur Lawford, boring suburban husband, complacent, pudgy, and smug, takes a walk in a graveyard near his house and falls asleep (or swoons) on a gravestone.  When he awakes, he has a new face -- the face of Sabarthier, a stranger buried outside consecrated ground.  Sabarthier's spirit seems to be there too.  His wife and friends don't recognize him, and how to convince them that his tale is true?  What is to be done about it?  Lawford makes the acquaintance of Mr. Herbert, who is just full of interesting theories, and his sister, who is sympathetic.  As he tries to fight off this possession, it may come at the cost of his sanity.

The story was OK, but it was not darkly thrilling and I couldn't always tell what they were talking about, which is a common problem with me and Walter de la Mare.  I keep trying with him, and I need to stop.  It always seems like I will love his stuff, and I just do not.  I don't get him.  It's not that he's a difficult writer, but I often can't tell what he's saying.  So, no more de la Mare for me.  Well, maybe the fairy tales...


  1. An interesting idea for a story, but I'd want it to be darkly thrilling and not confusing.


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