by Johannes Goransson on Apr.30, 2011
More scourges and mysteries arrive: ant infestations, the mailbox crawling with caterpillars, boxes full of photos of the dead, secret tunnels. What is the meaning of this family’s haunted house? Are we to interpret it all metaphorically? After being tortured by a talking egg, the mother, we are told, “weighed nine pounds lighter than that morning.” What of that? Butler makes us work for our answers, and I won’t spoil the experience by suggesting preformed conclusions. This novel is a thing of such strange beauty that digging for answers of your own will yield the rewards that only well-made art can provide.
In difference to the great accessibility rhetoric of Kirby, Collins and Orr, this review posits that the pleasure of Blake’s novel – like The Sound and The Fury and “Bartleby the Scrivener” – comes exactly from the riddles it poses.