I really wanted to like this book.
As a reader and admirer of Lovecraft - though no expert nor well-versed, as such - I had high hopes. I was expecting Lovecraft minus the repetition and updated to more modern horror scenes. I was hoping for more rounded Lovecraftian tales.
But the "horror" in these stories are hardly Lovecraftian. And the language is far, far away from Lovecraft.
Unlike the easy and light language of Lovecraft and most horror stories, Campbells text is dense, multilayered, at times flowery, at times hard to follow, and - unlike most horror - requires close concentration.
At first I was put off by this. But as I read on, deciding to take Campbell at his own level, I found the stories fulfilling and utterly inventive. The horror is mainly psychological, almost realistic and soci-culturally significant - a surprise within the genre. The stories, unlike H.P are not of "beast of unknown" or strange unknowable figures of the night. No, they are as the title says: Demons by DAYLIGHT.
Not monsters, but the monsters of the subconscious.
Sexual tension, rivalry, dark pasts and all to human motives drive the horror in this collection. Whether it's lovers acting out hostile unintentional revenges or horrific breakdowns of communication, they all leave you first wondering where the horror "is", only to realize the text shows a much more real terror.
The story 'The Interloper by Errol Undercliffe' could be discussed at length. An interesting piece of meta-fiction, and both adventurous enough and similar enough to be both within and outside the Lovecraft universe.
This being said: The language is decidedly of a bygone era. Not long gone, but of a time before youtube and Netflix, when there was "time" for more dense prose. A time before the fat was trimmed.
Personally, I believe the lighter prose of contemporary literature is an improvement. Instead of being a proof of the "dumbing down" of our minds, it's a compromise between reader and writer. Like many books written before the last twenty years, so much text could have been removed with little damage to the artistic intent.
This is, of course, subjective.
If you don't mind, or even prefer, this older dense prose, you will find this book sublime.
If, however, you expect Stephen King prose, you'll be put off at first. You might read on and get the same surprise I did.
But my final statement is that this book _could_ have been more, so much more. I am unable to get past the hostility and impenetrability of the prose. But that's a personal preference.
I wont return to Campbell, but learned a lot more than I expected and understand the genre more by this strange detour in the landscape.