Night Music: Nocturnes Volume 2 – John Connolly (Hodder)
A collection of supernatural fiction to rattle your cage.
Night Music is John Connolly’s second collection of supernatural tales, featuring his short fiction written in the decade since Nocturnes’ release. This volume contains such stories as ‘The Hollow King’ – a tale set in the world of The Book of Lost Things which will delight fans of that novel; ‘A Dream of Winter’; ‘On The Anatomization of an Unknown Man (1637) by Franz Mier’; and two novellas, the multi-award-winning ‘The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository, and ‘The Fractured Atlas’, previously published as an e-book and now expanded into a five-part novella to great effect. It also includes ‘I Live Here’, a non-fiction piece by the writer on supernatural fiction.
Connolly never disappoints; his writing is always flawless, sympathetic and with beautifully drawn characters. ‘The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository’ is a highlight of the collection; a tale of a library where literary characters who have achieved a life outside that of the novels they originate from go to live when their creators pass on, along with the relevant first editions and even manuscripts. When the story’s protagonist becomes intrigued by a woman he sees and subsequently finds out is Anna Karenina, the scene is set for an involving and at times delightful story with real emotional depth.
In ‘The Fractured Atlas – Five Fragments’, a story of a book that can rewrite reality itself and the effect it has on various protagonists – the author strays into almost Lovecraftian territory, with a novella told in five separate parts that come together in a most disturbing fashion.
‘A Haunting’ is a heart-breaking tale of an elderly man returning to the hotel room he honeymooned in, and visited with his wife on every anniversary thereafter – but this time he’s alone, and haunted in a most unusual fashion.
Night Music is a worthy follow-up to Nocturnes, and there is much to enjoy here – and much to think about, too. A must for John Connolly’s many fans. Marie O’Regan