At first, I could not understand why Patrick McGrath would write a modern book in gothic style. But then I got it: because he's really, really good at it. The Grotesque is dark, witty, and very well written. It makes me think of an Edward Gorey cartoon, come to life. The story is told entirely from the perspective of a brilliant but rather detestable narrator (hence the term "grotesque") who is extremely unreliable. But, he's all we have. And so we follow him as he unravels this twisted little tale of murder, adultery, and other nefarious acts. Overall, it's like a visit to a fun house, a quick trip in the spooky darkness, with lots of distorting mirrors, resulting in more amusement than terror.
Another reviewer described this book as an Edward Gorey cartoon come to life, and I couldn't have said it better myself. It is a very uncomfortable book, dark and macabre. Patrick Mcgrath is such a great writer that he does this with total class. Not for the squeamish. Funny, dark, and satirical. Not for everyone, but definitely my kind of book.
Witty, weird and highly enjoyable, this gothic British tale is aptly titled. The set-up is macabre: a distinguished paleontologist is brain-damaged and
slowly turning into a vegetable. He cannot speak, but narrates an interior monologue of all he sees and hears: a lot of sexual shenanigans and a particularly
grisly murder, all centered around "Fledge," the butler, who has ambitions. The stylistic joke is that all these horrors take place in a quaint, genteel
English country setting, where the village is "Pock-on-the-Fling," the pub, "The Hodge and Purlet" and the barrister, "Sir Fleckley Tome." However deadly
the deed, the language is always decorous and impeccably mannered. The result is strangely hilarious.
I liked it but I think it was a bit over my head.
This book was much too dark for me; I didn't really like it at all.