At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

“I could not help feeling that they were evil things– mountains of madness whose farther slopes looked out over some accursed ultimate abyss. That seething , half-luminous cloud-background held ineffable suggestions of a vague, ethereal beyondness far more than terrestrially spatial; and gave appalling reminders of the utter remoteness, separateness, desolation, and aeon-long death of this untrodden and unfathomed austral world.”

A slow unraveling of a polar expedition that discovers something very old hidden beneath the ground. The find more and more perplexing things until there is an incident. A few men go deep into the mountains of madness to try to figure out what happened. This book is written as sort of journal where one of the expedition members tries to warn others against exploring those mountains.

Lovecraft is a master of weaving a story that builds a lot of tension and fills you with a sense of dread. He hints at most of the scary, and terrible things that happened but that is usually enough. He then lets the readers’ imagination build the rest of the picture using his prompts. I love his writing style. His sentences are also wordy and use curious vocabulary which reminds me of older writing from the late 1800s, like The Moonstone for example.

This is actually the first Lovecraft book I have read but I read another book, The Flock of Ba Hui and Other Stories, that pays homage to his writing style and themes. That book ultimately led me to read this book as well as the beautiful cover of this edition (Penguin English Library edition, ISBN: 9780241341315).

I shall now be on the hunt to read another unsettling story from this famous author. Maybe you now want to pick up this very short book (123 pages) and learn for yourself the meaning of ‘Lovecraftian’ horror?

Rating: ★★★★★

Book #47 in my 2022 Reading Challenge

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