Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen

Source: LibriVox (zipped mp3s)
Length: 2 hours
Reader: Ethan Rampton

The book: For Halloween, here's a creepy story that influenced generations of horror writers. In the novella, a mysterious woman named Helen moves through London society, attracting those around her and leaving disaster in her wake. Who is she and what secret horrors does her beauty conceal?

Machen cleverly leaves it to the imagination most of the descriptions of what Helen actually does. This not only has the advantage of getting around Victorian censors, but also allows the reader to invent more heinous sins than any graphically presented misdeeds. Just like the threat of pain can be more frightening than pain itself, the phrase "as I expect you can guess" is a invitation to darkness.

Rating: 7 / 10

The reader: Rampton has a deep, brooding American accent that increases the atmosphere provided by Machen's words. He gives each character his own voice, allowing the fragments in the last chapter to be easily matched to their authors. The recording itself is well-made.

Happy Halloween!

(photo by Brookie via Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons by Attribution Share-Alike)

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