The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this creepy tale of a year in a boy's life in the 1960s. There's something really sort of dreamlike and surreal about it, with odd touches that sort of take away the book's anchor with real life. It reminded me a lot of my own childhood, which was spent making up stories and riding around on my bike with my brother (although, of course, we had much less free range than the boys in this book did).
There's a large cast of supporting, minor characters in this book, which really brings the flavor of the neighborhood the unnamed protagonist lives in to life. I liked the pervading creepiness better than the horror found in Stephen King's It, because all of the things that happened could easily be waved away as imagination. It actually does make you feel a lot like a little kid who knows something's wrong and nobody will do anything about it.
I liked it, but... at times the book is slow and the characters behave in almost mind-numbingly stupid ways - ways that seemed actually pretty out-of-character, and really brought down my enjoyment of the book.
I didn't think I'd read anything by this author before, but I see now he writes a lot of short stories and he's had stories in anthologies I've read, so I think I'll look further at his stuff.
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