Share for friends:

A Night In The Lonesome October (1994)

A Night in the Lonesome October (1994)

Book Info

4.21 of 5 Votes: 4
Your rating
0380771411 (ISBN13: 9780380771417)
avon books (mm)

About book A Night In The Lonesome October (1994)

This was my second attempt at reading Zelazny, and although I enjoyed this one more than the last one, I am beginning to think that Zelazny's style just doesn't agree with me. The best way that I can think to describe it is that I feel like I'm seeing the events of the story out of the corner of my eye, that I can never quite get the full picture. We're given hints, references to puzzle out, dialogue that both reveals and obscures, and a narration that is restrained and secretive. Everything is parceled out in small increments of info... a hint here, a clue there, which matches the fact that most of the characters are also figuring it out, but there is knowledge and history that our narrator has but doesn't share with us. At the same time, we're just thrown into it and expected to either sink or swim, get it or don't, or just go with it and hope it makes sense by the end. This is really frustrating for me, because I want to be drawn into the story and live in it a little while and just enjoy it for what it is. But Zelazny's style, in both this story and the previous one I read, requires the reader's having external knowledge in order to understand what's going on. The previous one required quite a bit of classical Greek history and mythology knowledge, and this one requires quite a bit of classic mystery and/or horror and lore knowledge as well. If one is not a classic reader, they will not get or understand many of the references here. And there are MANY, MANY references to be found. I have read many of the classics referred to, and I still felt like... well, like I could only see part of the picture. I'm sure that this kind of style works for a lot of people, especially those who like to puzzle things out and find those little Easter Eggs and such. And usually, I am that type. I like stories that don't give up all of their secrets all at once, that allow you to find something new with each reading. It's one of the things that I loved about the Harry Potter series, seeing all the mythological and historical references and figuring them out and trying to see if they signified anything that was to come in the main storyline. But the difference, at least as I see it, is that even if one didn't see those references at all in Harry Potter, there was a story to be enjoyed anyway. The characters were well developed on their own, the history was provided, and we knew what was going on, and the storyline made sense without needing to know that Albus means "white", etc. In a story like Harry Potter, those references are like the edible glitter on top of the icing of a cake. They add depth and something special... but without them, you still have a damn delicious cake. I don't feel like that was the case here. I got quite a lot of the references, because I HAVE read many of the books hinted at, and have at least a semi-passing knowledge of other types of lore, but I know that were I to have more knowledge, I would have enjoyed this story more. I have nothing against Zelazny, but I do feel like he kind of has an "ideal audience" in mind for his stories. I'm just probably not in it. Anyway, I did like this story, after I hit the halfway mark and the chapters got longer than 1 or 2 pages. I did like the references to the classics, and enjoyed the overall concept itself. I liked the Lovecraftian feel of the Things and the slitherers, and the 'through the stones' section. I liked how the mystery kept building up, but I would have liked for the resolution to be more complete and explained. Overall, I thought the story was good, but I would have liked it to be more fleshed out as a whole. I'm glad that I read it, it's a good Halloweenish story, but giving a bit more background and filler knowledge would have benefited it, I think. Horror October 2011: #6

3.5 I read A Night in the Lonesome October with some of my favorite gal pals on goodreads. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but what I got was not at all what I had imagined.The story is told in 31 chapters- each one is a day in October. You are following around Snuff, a watchdog who tells you all about his adventures for the day. There are other animals that are in the story as well working with their human companion to collect items and information for what they refer to as “The Game”. Imagine going to a movie theater and sitting down in your seat with your supersized popcorn, box of milk duds and your $18 bottle of water only to find you forgot your glasses in the car. (I don’t wear glasses either, but just go along with it for a minute and pretend your eyes suck). You’re all cozy, everyone is gathered in to watch the movie. You don’t want to be the jerk that gets up and interrupts everyone to ask what the hell is going on, or that blocks the view for someone else so you sit patiently hoping you can figure out enough from the dialogue. With 15 minutes left in the movie you decide to reach in your bag and get your keys out so you can try to beat the rush. Upon reaching in your bag you find your damn glasses. Sure, it’s great that you can NOW see the movie, but most of it has been lost in a haze. That’s exactly how I feel about this book. I don’t know if I am too dumb to pick up on all of the references but apparently everyone else who read this book figured out that Snuff was Jack the Ripper’s dog. I never made that connection and we can blame that on my blonde roots I guess. Overall I enjoyed the story. I mostly loved the kitty because I love kitties. The friendship between the animals, even ones who were on opposing sides of “The Game” was truly great. I felt like I missed a lot in this book though and I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it’s me or my ignorance of historical references? Maybe it’s the subtle writing technique that Mr. Zelazny employed? Maybe a combination of both? Once I got to the ending and realized what “the Game” actually was, it helped clear up some of the fog that had blocked my view. But not all of it. I’ll most likely go back at some point, maybe on a lonesome night in October, and give it another shot now that it’s all been spelled out for me. I want to thank my Goodreads Gal Pals for encouraging me to try new things and especially thanks to Delee for choosing this particular book. It was such a fun read even though I wasn’t smart enough to pick up on all the references!

Do You like book A Night In The Lonesome October (1994)?

An entertaining dark fantasy that combines Lovecraftian menace with the horror icons of Universal Pictures, along with the film versions of Sherlock Holmes, Rasputin and Jack the Ripper. Throw in a smattering of local color, including angry villagers, a creepy vicar, and some traveling gypsies. Season with a sense of humor that reads more like Gahan Wilson (who illustrated the hardcover) than Zelazny.Then let Jack's dog, Snuff tell the tale.Trust me. This book will put a smile on the face of any fan of old movies. Particularly the horror ones with Abbott and Costello.
—Jon Recluse

Half of the fun in most of Zelazny's books is to figure out what is going on. For this reason I have to be as obscure as possible. Imagine Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Count Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein, Rasputin, Larry Talbot (if you do not know who he is, I am not giving a spoiler), and some other well-known and interesting characters gather in one place waiting for the Halloween night when they are supposed to do something. The tale is told from a dog's POV. Are you confused? Sorry, this is the best I can do.The book is fairly lighthearted with quite a few jokes and puns, but when you stop to think about it, the plot is actually quite spooky. It takes a real master writer of Zelazny's caliber to make it work - and it does work, even when it seemingly goes over the top. The author pays homage to the creators of all of the characters I mentioned above as well as Poe, Bradbury, and Lovecraft (Cthulhu makes a brief appearance as well); I am sure I missed somebody.This is my first time I read the novel. After finishing it left me wondering, why the heck have not I read it earlier - several times. After the initial confusion there came a moment when I realized I really do not want to put the book down. Fortunately, Zelazny was also the master of cramping a lot of thoughts and plot movements into a very limited number of pages, so I still had several hours of much needed sleep left when I finished reading - going to bed before that was totally out of question.In conclusion, if you are looking for a spooky Halloween read, look no further. Heck, if you are looking just for any good read, look no further as well. Just read the book. This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one:

Zelazny is a genius... although I have a sneaking suspicion his genius may be drug related. Where else would you come up with the idea of telling a Victorian mystery-humor-horror story from the point of view of a dog?The first clue of the kind of upcoming weirdness comes from the dedication, which is to Shelley, Poe, Stoker, Doyle, Lovecraft, Bradbury, Bloch, and Terhune (dog breeder and writer). That means not only does the cast of characters include the watchdog Snuff, and his master, Jack, a man who is particularly talented with a knife, but a host of horror and mystery classics. The Great Detective and his sidekick are in the vicinity, investigating the sudden uptick in activity and maybe solve a murder or two. The Count drops by in his flowing, dark glory. The Good Doctor has moved into a nearby farmhouse looking for some quiet space in which to conduct various experiments using lightening. Is it any surprise he has a misshapen dwarf sidekick and an experiment man? And perhaps, in the vein of Bloch, there's a bad pun or two--really, Zelazny, really??The structure is the daily dairy of a mathematically-talented watchdog, Snuff, as he and Jack prepare for a final confrontation on October 31 between those who would open a door to other worlds and those who would keep it closed. Spell and geographical preparations need to be made while strategizing against the other participants. I have to admire how Zelazny takes simple sentence structure to initially build believability in a dog narrator (although, to be fair, there are hints he might be more than canine), but by story end, he is at his usual level of sophistication and imagery. Actually, the sense-world of the canine rather lends itself to Zelazny's imagery.Underneath the spell-preparing shenanigans is the building of a serious conflict. Preparations make for strange bedfellows, and Snuff finds himself relying on Ms. Greymalk the cat. He also interacts with a variety of other animal companions to the main human(?) players.Zelazny must of had a blast writing this. There's amusing variations on a theme wandering through the month. Notable are the many disguises of the Great Detective, and the variety of injuries his companion displays. There's a particularly fun ongoing riff using the Things that Jack and Snuff guard. The Things in the Mirror, Thing in the Wardrobe, the Thing in the Steamer Trunk and the Thing in the Circle downstairs are always trying to escape, but are kept under control by Snuff's ferociousness. The Thing in the Circle has settled for deception as its escape strategy, and daily turns into some type of dog, hoping to tempt Snuff."Down in the cellar the Thing in the Circle had become a Pekingese.'You like little ladies?' it asked. "Come and get it, big fella.'It still smelled of Thing rather than dog.'You're not really very bright,' I said.The Peke gave me the paw as I departed, and it's hard to turn your leg that way."Why not five stars? Well, there is a section where Zelazny indulges in his trademark other-world building that didn't seem to be particularly germane to the narrative. While a fun read, it just didn't hit '5' on my 'must own now' scale, but I'd rate it at 4 and a half stars. A lot of fun, worth a read or two and I'd certainly give it space if a cheap copy came my way--it could nestle up to the Amber series and his short story books I already own.Cross posted at

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author Roger Zelazny

Other books in category Fiction