As dark a chorus as is possible Horror at it's darkest and dirtiest.
When you start Ashley Meggitt's "The Dark chorus", the language Mr. Meggitt uses, automatically makes you aware that here is an author, not only with a firm grasp of evocative prose, but who has rightly mastered that same language – and by that, I mean has a degree in writing. And it shows, and you know instantly that the story is not going to go well. Either for its characters or our own feelings of unease.
Perhaps it’s a horror writer’s prerogative to notice when something dark and nasty crawls onto the same genre scene, and stare at that Horror writer’s distinct style with begrudging respect, but what starts out as admiration for prose, turns into shocked silence as the depravity of the book’s story takes hold – finely constructed madness, so enticing, it makes perfect sense to us even while we are “disgusted” by it. How cleverly the author has turned our own moral compass to face the completely opposite direction. And “disgusted” does not come close. The Dark chorus has a child MC who we root for, we wish him to achieve his dark purpose. We cheer him on as he undergoes his killing spree. We rejoice at the violence of his protector. We rebel at the emotional wounds of his female mc. We are as dirty as his book is, turned toward that belief that drives the child.
The world in which Mr Meggitt places his characters is as dark and twisted as the souls themselves. Racism, sexism, bigotry, violence, gore – it is a brutal painting not lessened at all by his magnificent articulation, the poetry of his prose standing in garish contrast to the scenes he so adroitly paints. You are both in love with his style and yet disgusted by the bareness it shows, the happy blanket of civility ripped away to reveal the worst of humanity. And all of it seen through the blameless eyes of a child only wishing to save his mother’s soul – as pure an intent as there exists in fiction.
The Dark chorus is a book that requires time, to ruminate, to digest, to come as close to the authors vision as is possible. And then finally to look back and wonder how the hell he did it so well.
Damn you, Ashley. I’ve been lost in the Dark chorus for weeks.
It was a pleasure.