NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Monday, October 12, 2009

DR. HAGGARD'S DISEASE

by Patrick McGrath



"For you, passion is a disease. It causes suffering, comes to a crisis, and dies." Fanny Vaughan in Dr. Haggard's Disease (p. 33)

"The setting is a cliffside manor on the English coast in the early years of the Second World War. The narrator is Dr. Edward Haggard, a mysteriously wounded figure racked by morphine addiction and tormented by the memories of his intense affair with Fanny, the wife of his former chief pathologist. Fanny is dead, but when her son, a young fighter pilot, appears in Dr. Haggard's life, the aging doctor finds out how an old passion can turn into a strange -- and dangerous -- obsession." (From the back cover of the Vintage Contemporaries edition.)

A perfect book for a crisp fall evening, a fireplace, and a reader looking for an eerie tale with which to pass the time. Dr. Haggard's Disease moves slowly but deliberately, both literally and figuratively. It's not a book to be rushed though. It's not heavy on plot, but the character of Dr. Haggard is unsettling and foreboding enough to pull the reader through to the end. The story is never frightening or shocking, but it continually keeps uneasy balance on the line of disturbing. Dr. Haggard has not yet lost his mind, but it could happen at any moment.

I love dark, creepy books and while Dr. Haggard's Disease is not as dark and creepy as I had hoped, it has left me more than curious about Patrick McGrath's other books. His writing has a delicately alarming quality that never crosses into the fanciful or melodramatic. I think that style is very difficult to maintain throughout an entire novel, much less an entire body of work. I will be returning to his books to find out if McGrath can do it, or even tries.



19 comments:

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Thanks for sharing this. I'm also a fan of the dark and creepy :)

Literate Housewife said...

I love Patrick McGrath, but this is one novel I've never been able to get into. I've read the first 15 pages or so several times but that's about it. I really, really love Asylum. It's one of my favorites of all time. I may have to give this one yet another try.

naida said...

I like dark and creepy books too. This sounds good.
Great review.
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Lezlie said...

Bookshelf Monstrosity & Naida ~ I'll be on the search for more "dark and creepy" when I finish all these challenges. Hopefully, I'll be able to find more for all of us! :-)

Literate Housewife ~ It does sort of plod along. I had to let go of "story" and just feel the writing, if that makes any sense. The end is freaky, so it's worth getting there. It's the one actual jaw-dropping moment in the book and then -- boom -- it's over! Asylum is next on my mental McGrath list, so I'm glad you loved it!

Lezlie

Joanne said...

Hi, Lezlie! Come on over to my blog -- I just posted "Books to Thrill and Chill" -- I'd love to hear your suggestions for the creepy!! Let's have some fun!

Literary Feline said...

Dr. Haggard sounds like an interesting narrator. I love the description of this book. It sounds like it has a subtle creepiness to it. Thanks for the great review, Lezlie.

Lezlie said...

Joanne ~ I'll be right over!

Literary Feline ~ Very subtle. You almost don't even notice it at first, but then you find yourself thinking about it when you put the book down.

Lezlie

Dar said...

I've never read any of McGrath's novels but this one certainly sounds like something I'd like. Dark & Creepy is right up my alley.

Lezlie said...

Hi, Dar! I hope everyone is feeling better at your home.

I hope you try this one. I'm dying to know what someone else thinks when they get to the end!

Lezlie

Dar said...

Things are still a bit iffy at home Lezlie unfortunately.

Would you believe my library does not have this book. They have a few of his others but not this one. Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg.

Lezlie said...

Oh, no. I'm sending hugs and prayers.

My library didn't have this one either. I had to order it.

Lezlie

Diane said...

I like the sound of this Lezlie; thanks...Dark and creepy?? You must read the 3 books by Chelsea Cain!!

Lezlie said...

Diane ~ Thanks for the recommendation! I'll have to look into those.

Lezlie

Al said...

Sounds like its worth a look.

Lezlie said...

Al ~ I think so. It is a little slow for some reader's tastes, but I thought it was worth it. I hope you give it a try!

Lezlie

Andi said...

Cool! I haven't heard of this one before, but it sounds like something I might like. :)

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ I'd be very curious to see your take on this if you read it. He has some others that you might be interested in, too. Asylum and Spider are a couple that I'm hoping to get to soon.

Lezlie

Ladytink_534 said...

Never heard of this author before. This particular book doesn't seem like something I would enjoy too much however the plot is interesting!

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ He's new to me, too. Most of his plots look interesting, if rather bleak. :-)

Lezlie