I am suddenly aware of the space of the house; the air it occupies and which occupies it, of the hanging weight of it, high up here at five thousand feet, and the empty night rising out of the ground as dusk arrives in the mountains.
High in the mountains, in a remote cabin, a writer struggling with his own lapse in creativity broods endlessly on the work of another. A dark obsession with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein takes him over. Reality and fantasy begin to merge.
Writers conjure monsters of all kinds.
Marcus Sedgwick’s writing always draws me in to whatever world he is creating, and The Monsters We Deserve is no exception. Though surprisingly short, this novel is dark, compelling, claustrophobic and intense. Our narrator is the unnamed writer, working alone in a rented cabin in a mountainside forest, trying at the behest of his publisher to coax his next work from his tired brain. But the longer he spends in this place, the stranger things become. There is mystery and enigma – it becomes impossible to know what is real.
This book, although short, needs careful reading, to truly appreciate the deft way in which Sedgwick crafts this tale. Not a word is wasted, and the prose is mesmerising as it pulls you down into the dark depths of the story’s main theme: how far can we control what we create? I enjoyed this book immensely, despite expecting a more standard horror tale than what I actually got. A perfect read to curl up in front of an open fire cocooned in a blanket – perhaps just leave the lights on…
And I know that we cannot control the things we create, because people believe what they want to believe. They take what they want from what they read, and what they see, and it matters not one tiny bit if that is not what was intended.