Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill

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I reviewed it. I reviewed it here.

It’s interesting to watch reviewers chew on this book — the New York Times liked it here and didn’t much care for it here. Partly because of Hill’s parentage — he’s Stephen King’s son — but partly because Hill isn’t a wordsmith. Book reviewers — and I’m one — like writers who toss out lapidary phrases, because they’re easier to quote, and they’re easy to talk about, and to praise. There’s a ready-made critical language for talking about that kind of high lyrical verbal intelligence, and it has a certain unproblematic cultural value.

That’s not the stuff Hill has. He is, however, an exceptionally gifted storyteller, and an orchestrator of frightening, highly visual scenes. That makes him a genre writer, and of no particular value to the literary mainstream. Ah well.

If you’re curious, the first chapter is online here.

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