Thursday 4 November 2021

Short Story Review: The Demon Lover by Elizabeth Bowen

The Demon Lover The Demon Lover by Elizabeth Bowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent. It seems so modern in its style even thought the setting is clearly just post war. I loved the build up, everything is very unlike a horror or a ghost story, then author drips in some odd aspects, the letter but no caretaker, no stamp, and then some more sinister apsects with the flashback to Mrs Drover as a young woman sayng goodbye to a soldier going off to war. He is most definitely cold and there is an abusive, controlling feel to his words, which makes the reader feel quite uneasy.

Then Bowen brings the reader back to the Drover house as Mrs Drover searches for the things she has come back to their London home for . The author drops in some well chosen words and phrases which set the tone for Mrs Drover's increasing panic - 'the letter writer sent her only a threat' and 'just at this crisis the letter writer had, knowingly, struck', a moment of respite comes when 'Six has struck', then more tension as Mrs Drover makes up the parcels in a 'fumbling-decisive way' - that contradicory juxtaposition of fumbling and decisive is so good - as she recalls 'He was never kind to me', 'I was not myself' and then the 'draft that travelled up to her face' reminiscent of the creepiness of cobwebs on your skin......'down there a door or window was being opened by someone who chose this moment to leave the house.'

Then it all comes together - 'the clock struck seven' ' the taxi had turned before she....recollected that she had not "said where"', the breaking to a stop, being flung against the glass and 'remained for an eternity eye to eye' with all the unsaid clarity that their goodbye under the tree had lacked - and then the scream.

Such powerful, well crafted writing. A masterclass in short story telling in my opinion. Very impressed. Great choice.

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