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The Town That Forgot How To Breathe Kindle Edition
"An eerie and gripping story, the work of an extravagantly haunted imagination." --J. M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize winning author of Disgrace
"[A] thoughtful, grounded piece of literary horror." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Haunting, poetic, funny, moving, The Town That Forgot How to Breathe takes on the big themes--the meaning of life, our relationship to the dead, man's place in the rapidly changing modern world--and carries everything off with a surging confidence that leaves the reader, well, breathless." --John Harding, Daily Mail (U.K.)
"Harvey brings uniquely imaginative storytelling skill to this wickedly allegorical tale. . . . It will frighten readers so much they may never turn out the lights." --BookPage
"Harvey's characters and their world--both the mystical and the real--are meticulously created. He moves between them in a way that creates dread and confusion, leaving readers on edge. . . . A fascinating, mystical story that will make readers hold their breath." --Detroit Free Press
"Both a contemporary and a historical novel, The Town That Forgot How to Breathe is a tour de force! It speaks of the sea: of those who are upon it, beside it, beneath it. Kenneth J. Harvey, a writer like no other, is as knowledgeable as he is adventurous. A very exceptional novel, extraordinary in its power." --Alistair MacLeod, author of No Great Mischief
"The quality of [Harvey's] storytelling and his way with an eerie instant are too good to miss." --The Times (London)
"Harvey has managed to come up with something fresh and original. . . . His voice and vision are unique and strong through his writing, and it's just the breath of fresh air needed in horror fiction today." --HorrorChannel.com
"A heartwarming romance . . . a creepy horror story . . . a subtly didactic political allegory . . . [and] a fascinating regional novel . . . Harvey is an author whose storytelling prowess can speak for itself." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Chilly as the touch of Corpse-Weed, and haunting as the trouble in Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot or H. P. Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror. Harvey delivers the horror goods." --The Believer
"Harvey's American debut is big in every way. . . . Mystical, complicated, and always compelling, this is a standout among fall fiction. . . . Highly recommended." --Library Journal
"A compelling tale that works on several levels--as a horror story, a warm father-daughter bonding story, and as a social commentary." --The Sacramento Bee
"A very creepy read; thoughtful and eerie at the same time." --The Arizona Republic
"Harvey's own tall tale is a richly ambiguous parable, not of the need to abandon technology in favor of 'the simple life, ' but of the need to restore myth and poetry to our lives." --The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Impressive . . . A truly strange and thoroughly entertaining page-turner, part fairy tale, part fable, part gothic thriller." --Irish Independent--This text refers to the paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
Recent divorce Joseph Blackwood has returned to his hometown in hopes of reconnecting with his estranged daughter. But when the young girl begins having visions and conversing with the spirit of a neighbor's deceased child, he knows that his daughter is suffering from some supernatural affliction. Now, with the help of some colorful village residents, Joseph must unravel this paranormal mystery to save his only daughter.
Called the literary love child of Stephen King and Annie Proulx, "The Town That Forgot How to Breathe is a page-turning gothic tale and a profound exploration of what it really means to live in the modern world. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- File Size : 1157 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 482 pages
- Publisher : Vintage Digital; New edition (31 October 2011)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B005JDTKO0
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,830,266 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Natural Law, Science, and the Social Construction of Reality
I recently discovered Ken Harvey and am trying to make up for lost time.
This book can be read in a number of ways, as other reviews show.
It is horror story, and old fashioned ghost story, a moral parable, a story about how technology is destroying what makes us human, a story about the revenge of nature, and a story about what it means to be one's self.
There are actually two stories going on that overlap. Doug Blackwood and his daughter Robin leave St John's for a holiday and go to a small fishing village on the coast. The village is depressed due to the closing of the Cod fishery and the processing plant.
When the troubles arise, which affect Robin, he calls his ex-wife Kim, who also comes to town. They all get caught up in the events.
There is a ghost girl in the house across from where Robert and Robin are staying. The ghost wants Robin as a permanent playmate, and, when Robin has real medical problems, they are, of course, complicated by the ghost issues.
Meanwhile, Tommy, who had been born stillborn but came to life but had brain damage draws pictures of things to come. And Old Miss Laracy keeps people grounded with her tales and ability to see spirits.
When all kinds of old drowned people appear it is Miss Laracy who can identify them. The dead people are all related to the people in the town who develop an inability to breathe. And with the loss of breathe comes a loss of identity.
People dig up old records and determine that something like this happened 70 years before, just when all kinds of electrical communications were being used.
In all a complex read that works on many levels, especially with regard to the identity of both the people and the places of the Newfoundland Outports.
But from the very moment he arrives, Joseph realizes there is something slightly off-center about Bareneed, something unsettling that at first he cannot pinpoint. He has a strange and enigmatic neighbor named Claudia Kyle, an artist herself with a studio in her house, along with a secret past and a heavy weight on her soul.
Soon, Robin begins to see Claudia's dead daughter Jessica playing in the barn, the town simpleton Tommy begins to draw strange pictures of the town and its people, strange and colorful fish are pulled from the sea, each one vomiting up something unnatural before they die.
Dr. George Thompson, and elderly country doctor, begins to notice a strange illness running through his town, in which his patients simply stop breathing for no apparent reason. Police Sergeant Brian Chase, a tall, half-native with a sick wife at home, begins to investigate the strange occurrences in his territory of Bareneed.
Joseph's estranged wife Kim, a marine biologist, catches wind of an albino shark being pulled from the waters of Bareneed Cove and immediately comes to investigate, but also, because she wants to see Joseph and Robin. Kim arrives in time to discover that Robin has become ill also, and that Joseph has started to change, so she goes in search of Joseph's gnarly, local uncle, Doug Blackwood.
Things become worse as more folk sicken, and worse things become to come up from the sea. Only the elderly, children, and the simple seem to be immune from the pall that has fallen over Bareneed like a shroud, smothering even the soldiers sent in to keep the area isolated.
While the pace of 'The Town That Forgot How To Breathe' is languid, the story has stealthy claws that will reach out and scrap your flesh when you least expect it. This kind of chilling dread has long been missing from more modern works of mysterious horror.
What is tangible to the touch is not always the reality behind the frightening puzzles that face Bareneed. Secrets held but never whispered, knowledge with no one left to pass it on to, legends, myths, seductive lethargy, painful memories, and the tingles of fear of the unknown will enter through the hearty bone of your skull and skitter through your mind as you indulge yourself in this fantastic novel.
That shiver is telling you something. It's telling you something is not right in Bareneed. Something that seems to need more than you can possibly give. Harvey's prose is tight and poetic, his characters real enough to reach out and touch, and his creation of small town life as comforting as warm apple pie.
Don't miss this novel. It's an excellent foray into those creepy dark corners we like to cower in late at night. Enjoy!
Bareneed, Newfoundland, is an old fishing town in decline following the banning of cod fishing and the closing of the local fish factory. Soon after Joseph Blackwood and his young daughter show up, renting a home for a summer vacation in the picturesque coastal town, strange things start happening. Local residents, forgetting how to breathe - literally - while at the same time becoming violent and forgetting who they are - start filling up the local hospital. Then bodies - some apparently centuries old but perfectly intact - start bobbing up to the surface of the bay. Strange and mythical sea creatures romp in the surf, while those locals still breathing normally seem to spend most of their time drawing pictures, spouting New Age psycho-babble, or breaking out in seafaring folk songs. The respiratory-challenged, all tubed-up in ICU, were much less annoying than those Bareneed residents still able to function "normally". But this was the part of the book that was discernable. The rest - a tedious concoction of man's connection with the sea, with family, with death, spirits, amber lights, fish, mermaids and the Canadian armed forces - is less clear, if that is possible.
In summary, it seems that author Kenneth Harvey was trying to be Steven King - but Steven King with some important, moral message. He failed on both counts - even King's sub par "Cell" is a classic literature by comparison. "The Town that Forgot How to Breathe" is simply all wet - save your time and money and wait for the next port.