Flash Review – The Night Ocean, by Paul La Farge

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Title: The Night Ocean

Author: Paul LaFarge

Publisher: Penguin Books

The Night Ocean is not about what you think it is about. It is a story about stories, witnessed through a kaleidoscoping lens of unreliable narrators. It is strange, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes profound and at least a couple of times The Night Ocean verges on infuriating. And while it is, and isn’t, a story about Howard Philips Lovecraft and the various individuals who orbited him, it is at its heart a very Lovecraftian story.

The Night Ocean is a story about desire and desperation, love and betrayal, and how all of those things can drive a person to the verge of madness. It is personal and often poignant. Also, I must commend the author, not only for conducting what must have been an exhaustive amount of research, but for bringing so many individuals from history to life. La Farge adds a kind of authenticity, somehow crystallizes the reality of his story, by interacting so often with familiar, recognizable names. The line blurs in places, between fact and fiction.

By the end–especially by the end–The Night Ocean is a deeply weird book.

 

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