The Cormorant

Stephen Gregory, Author St. Martin's Press $13.95 (147p) ISBN 978-0-312-01753-8
Uncle Ian's strange bequest comes as a ""thunderbolt of good fortune'' to a young family when he leaves his nephew a rundown cottage not far from the coast in North Wales. But there is a condition: Uncle Ian's pet cormorant must be cared for. Though Ian's nephew (through whose eyes we observe this sinister tale) and his wife Anne settle in happily to their new life, they are soon disconcerted by the arrival of the bird, ``as ugly and poisonous as a vampire bat.'' Anne shudders at its ``demonic arrogance,'' but their 11-month-old son, Harry, is unpleasantly attracted to the bird, whom they name Archie. As a feeling of impending disaster gradually permeates the narrative, Archie's relentless presence causes a rift between the couple, who must cope with its viciousness and malevolence. The nephew finally decides to do away with Archie, but the cormorant proves to be his nemesis instead. This artful first novel, reminiscent of the tales of Poe, won Britain's Somerset Maugham Award. Gregory uses a low-key style and subtle lyricism to build an atmosphere of nightmarish horror in a tale that could become a classic. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-312-91314-4
Paperback - 132 pages - 978-1-939140-37-1
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