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Shadowland Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1984


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Mass Market Paperback, Mar 1984
CDN$ 3.01

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade Pub (March 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425073211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425073216
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 12.7 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

Product Description

From Amazon

First setting: an all-male prep school in Arizona, where two sensitive freshmen form a bond based on their interest in magic tricks. Second setting: the labyrinthine house of a weird magician uncle in New England, where the two boys spend a memorable summer being trained in the art of illusion. Or is it real magic? Third setting: an alternate world where dark forces are at play--forces that first show up at the school, but intensify their power the summer. Shadowland is a superb, under-recognized, early novel from a master of literary terror. Get it while it's back in print! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Frightening enough to jolt even the most jaded ghost story addict. Straub can write superb horror.' Washington Post 'Intriguing and appealing! poised and accomplished.' Sunday Times 'Truly fantastic! a work of literary magic.' Miami Herald 'Creepy from page one! a grand slam! I loved it.' STEPHEN KING --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
The last day of summer vacation: high cloudless skies, dry intense heat; endings and beginnings, deaths and promises, hover regretfully in the air. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have been reading since a young age, and this is quite simply my favorite book. Some books tend to meander all over the place; others tend to load up on the details to try and fill out a sparse story wihch would be better off a short story. Not so with Shadowland, a truly monumental literary accomplishment which is completely under-rated. The massive amount of details in the story help to bring the story to life, to bring the reader closer into the story.
Shadowland is not for everyone. But if you are on the same wavelength as the story you will find what is easily the finest piece of writing in existance. The magnitude and depth of the story, the only other books I can think of comparing would be Tarot by Piers Anthony or the Dark Tower series by Stephen King; IF he gets the totally extraneous side plotline books out of the way!
It is a true shame that Straub's other works get more attention, I consider Shadowland to be his absolute finest masterpiece. This book really does belong to the ages.
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By Amazon Customer on Nov. 26 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Shadowland, by Peter Straub, is a piece of really excellent high-end horror. The book begins in a private prep school for boys. In this school, Del and Tom, two freshmen boys fascinated by magic, find each other and form a strong friendship. Together, they learn card tricks, try to figure out why the whole school is having nightmares, dodge the crazy headmaster of the school, and do the sort of pal-around that only boys of a certain age can do. Their school year culminates with a big talent show in which Del and Tom plan to perform a magical exhibition. Circumstances in the story keep this from happening and the boys retire for the summer to the estate of Del's uncle, Shadowland.
Del's uncle is a half-crazy, alcoholic, retired magician. He sets about teaching the boys magic. His magic, though, consists of more than tricking the eye with a slight of hand. At Shadowland, nothing is as it seems. An hour can feel like all day. The sun can set at 11am. You can find yourself suddenly half-way across a continent, just to find that you haven't moved from your spot at all. There are others living at Shadowland that are unseen, and whose existence is denied. There are rules that are made in the hopes of being broken. As Del's uncle spends the summer recounting his life, in all it's horror, to the boys Tom realizes that the horror is only starting. As he sees things that can't be real, but are, and he sees the immediate horrors being committed at Shadowland, Tom realizes that he has to leave, and Del must come with him. Unfortunately, for Tom and Del, Uncle Collins has realized something about Tom that even Tom doesn't yet know - and he wants it for himself.
In Shadowland, Peter Straub has written a brilliant piece of fiction. There are plots, subplots, and subplots within those.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed this book. It was the first Peter Straub I have read, and since then I have also read Houses Without Doors. Peter Straub is often refered to by those who need labels for things as a "more intellectualized Steven King". There is some truth to this, but not a lot. Straub's writing is less colloquial, less immediate, than King's, and he lacks King's instinctive (some might even say addictive) sense of humor. In other ways, though, many similarities can be drawn between their writing, which is why, although it has been called a lesser work, I enjoyed the Talisman (and Black House, too).
Back to the matter at hand.
Straub's writing is quite beautiful. There is a penetrating lyricism in it. In his hands, the mundane becomes as terrifying as the bizzare, and a simple glance at a passerby out of a train window can be as numbing, or more, as the macabre violence that eventually follows (and, rest assured, it is indeed to follow- one scene towards the end literally turned my stomach- you Will realize what scene I refer to when reading it, I am sure).
The story is of two friends at a decaying authoritarian prep school in the Southwest. The second story is of these two boys' apprenticing under one's uncle, an aging magician who is on the brink of madness.
There is such a clean break of setting between the two large sections that it creates some problems- which Straub effectively fixes.
Almost.
A web of interconnected images and characters connect the sections to each other, and these are well acheived and fascinating. However, the division is almost unbridgable.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Peter Straub is a very intelligent thinker when writing about occult matters. However, I found this book very confusing at times--wondering what was happening. In many places Straub could simplify his language rather than drawing out the entire plot with unneeded pages of action and details that bare no significance whatsoever. Like at the end, where you want the novel to end, he builds it up without giving a very specific ending. He wastes time on imagery that we simply don't care about, whereas in other areas of the book he is very stingy and cheap with details--making it very hard to understand what is happening.
His allusion to other Literature is very thought-provoking, though it helps to have read these stories beforehand, otherwise you might get a little lost in the symbolism in his story.
Finally, if you don't know who Eliphas Levi and other characters like Aleister Crowley are, you will be doubly lost. They are writers on the occult and some, like Crowley are practitioners. However, I find it remarkable how Straub includes non-fictional characters in a fictional story and uses this as a basis to interject his own personal thoughts on them. Straub gives us his opinion on various things like Christianity--that the true religion is Jesus' learnings, not the modern day preversion of priests and ministers. He draws many parallels and employs the use of metaphor heavily throughout Shadowland.
The story becomes cliche when the characters take on a Jesus versus the Devil theme later in the novel. It becomes rather gaudy when Straub tries to create an allegory to Christ and his crucifixion, by actually using one character to represent Judas--who is later referred to as "a Judas.
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