Monday, February 5, 2024

The House of the Moon


Benjamin Tweddell has a gently diabolical touch. Whether it is the claustrophobic-um-ecstatic The Veneration at Polwheveral Manor or the decadent apotheosis of A Crown of Dusk and Sorrow Tweddell's tone floats freely between the sacred and the obscene, from light to darkness and back again. The House of the Moon is no exception. Tweddell's literary chiarascuro, for lack of a better term, contrasts hopeful light and hopeless darkness as dissonant foils to one another, but also, behind it all, pieces of the same completeness, ends of a spectrum, rather than a stark duality. 

As with all of Mount Abraxas books, the production values are outstanding, but in this case, I think the publishing house has outdone itself. This is absolutely exquisite in form and execution. This little work is a treasure, especially with the deft hand of Luciana Lupe Basconcelos at the pen and brush. Her works are the gems on the crown here.

As with Tweddell's other work, a looming building looms large in this story. Here it is the titular House of the Moon, so-called by those who see beyond it's facade as an empty, if disquieting, Cavendish Hall. Julian Ashford moves to the estate of his recently-deceased mother and sees a mysterious, beautiful, yet sad young lady near the grounds of Cavendish Hall. He discovers, in time, the secrets of the House of the Moon, the identity of the young lady, and his mother's own connection to the strange edifice and its inhabitants. This is a moody and seemingly serene bit of poetic prose, until a certain point, where Julian's perceptions about the place and his place in the universe are shattered. To say more than that is to give too much away, but I end with one word of warning: be careful when looking up into the night sky and staring at that blackness between the stars. You may learn something about reality that you aren't ready yet to know. And rather than reality coming crashing down upon you, you will be lifted up and swallowed by it.


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