The Fisherman, with its spine-tingling pleasures, represents the best of what a horror novel can offer.
The Fisherman unfolds with exquisite slowness as a three-part tall tale. The first portion introduces the narrator, Abe, and his friend Dan, two widowers who find solace in fishing the waters of upstate New York together. When Dan decides he wants to fish a little-known spot called Dutchman’s Creek, Abe has no objections. Along the way, they hear a story while waiting out a rainstorm in a diner; this story comprises the second part of the book. It is a tale of dark magic and death, centered around Dutchman’s Creek and a sinister character known as Der Fisher. Finally, the book follows Dan and Abe as they continue on their fishing trip, making discoveries along the way.
The Fisherman is an unusual horror story. It involves loss, grieving, and learning to cope with life again while still longing for what has passed. Abe and Dan’s suffering rings with profound truth, often something that seems missing from fiction in the genre. The monsters that plague them are all the more real, and are far scarier, because of that, and the book is powerful as a result.
A slow pace, coupled with emotional intensity and wonderful descriptions of both characters and place, makes this a narrative that it is easy to get lost in—a story that, like that of Dutchman’s Creek, can be gotten inside of, leaving you “looking out at everything, as the story uncoil[s] around” you.
With a slight nod to ancient Egyptian mythology, The Fisherman also offers creative ideas on the structure of the universe and the dark possibilities of life after death, elevating it into an examination of human nature and the darkness that exists within every person. The whole effect is at once quiet and chaotic, terrifying and sad. The Fisherman, with its spine-tingling pleasures, represents the best of what a horror novel can offer.
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