The Monsters we Deserve by Marcus Sedgwick
Updated: Nov 15, 2020
Hello and welcome to another edition of me reading books and then writing stuff about them.
Today’s book is excellent “The Monsters we Deserve” by Marcus Sedgwick, a literary horror novel. I am just going to do a short post about this book.
The Monsters we Deserve: 'Do monsters always stay in the book where they were born? Are they content to live out their lives on paper, and never step foot into the real world?'
The Villa Diodati, on the shore of Lake Geneva, 1816: the Year without Summer. As Byron, Polidori, and Mr and Mrs Shelley shelter from the unexpected weather, old ghost stories are read and new ghost stories imagined. Born by the twin brains of the Shelleys is Frankenstein, one of the most influential tales of horror of all time.
In a remote mountain house, high in the French Alps, an author broods on Shelley's creation. Reality and perception merge, fuelled by poisoned thoughts. Humankind makes monsters; but who really creates who?
So, the story centres on an unnamed author (the only thing we learn is that he shares the same initials as Mary Shelley and Marcus Sedgwick, hmm) this author loathes the “Frankenstein” story, he has rented a cabin in the French alps, in the same area as Shelley conceived the idea for her legendary book.
As the story progresses it becomes more and more surreal and dreamy. At first, he is just isolated, then strange things start happening in the cabin he is staying in, he hears breathing in the dark when he is sleeping and the physical properties start changing in the cabin, doors to a cellar appears. The author gets visits from a ghostly Mary Shelley, then a visit from Frankenstein himself (not the monster, but the man) then finally to the creation itself.
It’s a story about writers creating tales, characters and creatures and what happens when these creations take on a life by itself, when a story becomes more than a story, it becomes a part of our collective culture, with all its flaws open for all to see...
(you know what, I am not eloquent enough to describe the intricate details of the deeper meaning to this book, so I am going to stop trying, all I know is that it is a good book! I enjoyed it and I think most people will to! So, go and do yourself a favour and buy this book)
Anyhow. the story itself is atmospheric, philosophical and fast flowing, it is a creative literary tale, that almost reads like a literary essay mixed with an biography.
It’s a short read, so when you start it you probably going to finish it in one sitting.
Slight side note, whilst reading it I had the quote “Knowledge is knowing that Frankenstein is not the monster. Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein IS the monster” running through my head.
Personally, this is the first book I have read by Marcus Sedgwick, and I must admit it warrants more reading into his bibliography! I will also say that the cover art is just stunning!
If you have read this already and you liked this book then you should check out “Frankenstein in Baghdad” by Ahmed Saadawi(deeply rooted in the essence of the original “Frankenstein” story)
Notes on book:
Genre: literary horror?
Page number: 272
Publisher: Head of Zeus