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The Other (1971)

por Thomas Tryon

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

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1,3583313,764 (3.88)124
Fiction. Horror. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:

Holland and Niles Perry are identical thirteen-year-old twins. They are close, close enough, almost, to read each other's thoughts, but they couldn't be more different. Holland is bold and mischievous, a bad influence, while Niles is kind and eager to please, the sort of boy who makes parents proud. The Perrys live in the bucolic New England town their family settled centuries ago, and as it happens, the extended clan has gathered at its ancestral farm this summer to mourn the death of the twins' father in a most unfortunate accident. Mrs. Perry still hasn't recovered from the shock of her husband's gruesome end and stays sequestered in her room, leaving her sons to roam free. As the summer goes on, though, and Holland's pranks become increasingly sinister, Niles finds he can no longer make excuses for his brother's actions.

Thomas Tryon's best-selling novel about a homegrown monster is an eerie examination of the darkness that dwells within everyone. It is a landmark of psychological horror that is a worthy descendent of the books of James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shirley Jackson, and Patricia Highsmith.

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Mostrando 1-5 de 32 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Wow. This is about the most truly horrific thing I have read in a long time. Perhaps ever. But it isn't Lovecraftian horror; the clear antecedent is Shirley Jackson. But she was never so visceral. I'm writing this before I read the afterword to the NYRB edition, because I want to capture my thoughts fresh. This book has one horrific shock after another, although after the first two or three, you realize more are coming, so you are a bit prepared. No spoilers, but the foreshadowing is pretty clear in hindsight or even as you are reading. You just don't know exactly how or when the shock will come, but when it does, it still makes you want to put down the book and refresh your drink. The other thing that makes this story about twins very different is the way in which it is told. The narrative voice is certainly unusual in how it shapes the story and resets our expectations. This is a book that you can really spend a long time thinking about afterwards. Horror like this, frankly, has much more impact on me as a reader than Lovecraftian horror, even as much as I love some of Lovecraft's work (particularly The Shadow Over Innsmouth). I recently reviewed the Penguin collection of Thomas Ligotti's first two story collections. They are well written and some are quite clever, but the world they describe isn't real and no amount of nice wordsmithing can make it so. But the events in The Other, no matter how terrible they are, have the aura of truth about them. Again...wow. ( )
  datrappert | Mar 20, 2024 |
Having read the author's 'Harvest Home' many years ago I was prepared for another novel of creeping horror and by and large that is what is delivered. Set in 'the old days' but with cars and movie theatres - and it eventually seems from internal clues that it is the period between the two World Wars (confirmed quite late on when two tombstones are shown with their dates that it is actually 1935) - this is the story of twin boys, one of whom is the evil twin, Holland, and the other, Niles, the good one. Except it is not that simple. For a start, there is a framing mechanism from the beginning where someone is commenting on the story- and this repeats at the beginning of each part and also at the very end - where it soon becomes clear that this person lives in an insitution, which creates a strong suspicion that this is either a mental home or a penal institution of some kind, and also of the narrator's identity.

In the first part of the story the slow narrative gradually makes clear that a series of "accidents" have befallen members of the Perry family - first, their father was killed by a falling trapdoor in the barn and then Holland nearly fell into the well while hanging his grandmother's cat. Shortly afterwards, Holland poisons the pet rat belonging to their cousin Russell - he and his parents have been living there since the father's funeral - and then another family tragedy ensues. The events are largely seen through the eyes of Niles who interacts with his brother, and we learn that their grandmother taught them a 'game' of projecting themselves onto features of nature or animals/birds to become those things. Except Niles is entirely too good at it and everything follows on from there.

There is a huge reveal at the end of part 2 which makes it clear that this is not a story of the supernatural. The trouble is, having seen lots of modern movies and read a lot of books, once this occurs the rest of the story becomes entirely predictable and, for me, a bit boring. The things that happen to other family members are horrible, but I resigned myself to various characters being bumped off in various ways and it all became rather routine. There is good characterisation and a lot of good scenesetting although the prose does drift towards the purple from time to time, but it lacked a sense of driving forward and drifted rather to the conclusion when things began to pick up a bit. So a 3-star rating for me. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
I don't read much horror (on purpose anyway), but it was Halloween. This story is pretty well done. It seemed to labor under my familiarity with the evil child genre - including at least one movie. In horror books one must suspend ones disbelief, of course, and the author should help out. While the characters in this novel were wringing their hands over the suspected or real actions of the protagonist, I fear that I might have just kicked his little ass. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
Thomas Tryon’s “The Other” Where to begin? Within the scope of a week I read Harvest Home and The Other. This review will be primarily for The Other. Fifty years and some change ago The Actor/Writer Thomas Tryon released this book. Tryon was a literary Assassin. Who knows where he would have went had he stayed in the field long enough to compete with the likes of King, Koontz, Barker or John Saul. But one thing is for sure. Based off the strength of his debut novel, things may have been a little different. The Agony Tryon puts the reader through in this book is like being nailed to wall. He is able to tell a story that crawls onto your back and slowly inches its way beneath your skin. The Other without a doubt uses James’s Turn of the Screw for a blue print, but easily manages to stand on its own two feet. I can say I had the story figured out after a while, but that fact being known did not diminish the eerie feeling that something was terribly wrong with the child Niles and the Grandmother. The events that take place in this book seem so real and when we look at the time frame, 1935, we can understand that something like this more than likely happened in small places with minimal access to health care and attention to mental disorders. The Other is eerie, haunting and oddly enough cheerful and melancholy. The writing is tight, and all the elements of what is actually going on are right in the readers face from the start of the story. But it is up to the reader to pick up on them. It is a shame the film is so obscure because it is very faithful to the novel. This is a style the author would develop over the course of a short but powerful writing career. ( )
1 vote JHemlock | Jun 20, 2023 |
"Can you remember what we used to say about secrets?"

Niles and Holland are thirteen-year-old identical twins; born on opposite sides of midnight just as Pisces turns into Aries, the two boys couldn't be more different despite the fact that they are each other's spitting image.

Actor-turned-author Thomas Tryon has a frightening way with words—pun intended. The Other is his first novel, and yet it reads as if it's written by a writer at the height of his powers. Technically, it's a powerhouse of a novel: cleverly paced, skillfully plotted, and with the right measure of psychological insight and uncanny terror.

What is also intriguing about The Other is that it is very obviously a recasting of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, that eerie forerunner of the genre of psychological trauma/horror that insists that children are hardly as innocent as they seem. Tryon recasts James's Miles here as Niles, and the reader is at Niles's side for the duration of the novel apart from a very clever reworking of James's frame narrative, as well as a haunting revision of James's final scene, that Tryon uses to increase the more American gothic feeling of his text as opposed to James's (yes, I suppose I'm calling James a British writer—at the very least, The Turn of the Screw is a British novel).

I finished The Other just as the New York City area is readying itself for the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, several days prior to Halloween. The sense of panic, hysteria, and Tryon's sense of the macabre—while still emphasizing the psychologic over the fantastic—are still very immediate; it does make one lament, however, the fact that Tryon's novel might sadly lack the power to shock in our day and age as much as it did when it was first published in 1971. ( )
  proustitute | Apr 2, 2023 |
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Thomas Tryon is one of the best-kept secrets of modern horror fiction, and one of its great losses. (Introduction)
Prior to his successful writing career, Thomas Tryon had a respectable run as an actor in Hollywood, appearing in several horror and science fiction films: I married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) and Moon Pilot (1962) and in westerns: Three Violent People (1956) and Winchester '73 (1962), a film of the World War II generation, credited with saving 20th Century Fox Studios, after the disaster of Cleopatra. (Afterword)
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Fiction. Horror. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:

Holland and Niles Perry are identical thirteen-year-old twins. They are close, close enough, almost, to read each other's thoughts, but they couldn't be more different. Holland is bold and mischievous, a bad influence, while Niles is kind and eager to please, the sort of boy who makes parents proud. The Perrys live in the bucolic New England town their family settled centuries ago, and as it happens, the extended clan has gathered at its ancestral farm this summer to mourn the death of the twins' father in a most unfortunate accident. Mrs. Perry still hasn't recovered from the shock of her husband's gruesome end and stays sequestered in her room, leaving her sons to roam free. As the summer goes on, though, and Holland's pranks become increasingly sinister, Niles finds he can no longer make excuses for his brother's actions.

Thomas Tryon's best-selling novel about a homegrown monster is an eerie examination of the darkness that dwells within everyone. It is a landmark of psychological horror that is a worthy descendent of the books of James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shirley Jackson, and Patricia Highsmith.

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