So over this week I’m reviewing 3 books that I honestly couldn’t chose a favourite between – Europe at Midnight I reviewed yesterday, and Husk by J. Kent Messum will be tomorrow. However, The Night Clock by Paul Meloy, is possibly my favourite by just a smidge. A debut novel, I wrote it what really amounts to a love letter on Goodreads last month (tweaked a bit here). I haven’t changed my mind since. Here goes..
The Night Clock – Paul Meloy
I owe The Night Clock an apology. It took me a little while for me to pluck you from the dust of the bedside table where larger, fatter, LOUDER books had beaten you out over the 4 weeks you’d been sat there. I’d glanced at the first page, put you down and picked up your neighbour. Twice. And they were good, yes, but they weren’t you.
When I finally stepped between your pristine pages I was hung over to the nth degree and in need of serious diversion. My head hurt. I initially blamed your dense, swirling concepts. Then I did just what you recommended and stepped into that strange state of being where you are consciously dreaming and finally engaged. Slippers kicked off, feather pillows plumped, I let your pages sing to me.
What beautiful, surreal yet immensely human writing by someone who clearly understands mental illness. Once I stopped trying to understand the mechanisms and concepts behind the Night Clock and just let it flow over me it had a curious alchemy akin to falling in love. With a book. A short book at that. I’m not sure I’ve felt this way since I read Clive Barker’s Imajica (and that was a scarily long time ago).
Fantasy, steampunk, monsters and ordinary heroes – they are all within your pages. A ragged band of humanity pulled together by strange forces, and probably the world’s smartest talking dog. All tied up with the realities of living within the mental health system for both practitioner and patient.
All reading is subjective and individual to the person; for me this book bordered on perfection. I am so so happy there will be a sequel.
Additional comments: the first few pages are a little confusing and appear to go off in tangents in some respects. It’s worth persevering because the novel soon opens out and begins to make a strange kind of sense. There are a couple of scenes of an adult nature that may make some people uncomfortable, though they are there in support of the plot rather than for gratuity. I also suspect this may be a marmite book. I still adore it.