H.P. Lovecraft- “The Outsider” (1926)

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“The Outsider” is a short story by American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Written between March and August 1921, it was first published in Weird Tales, April 1926. In this work, a mysterious man who has been living alone in a castle for as long as he can remember decides to break free in search of human contact. – Goodreads

Now, I’m not one who would put the horror genre at the top of my “Most Read” list on the account that the imagination can be more horrifying and scary than seeing actual “horror” played out on a screen in front of you. That being said, I’m also not one to completely dismiss the genre simply because I don’t like being scared. The Outsider

Lovecraft’s “The Outsider” is a strange story indeed. It was one that I found slightly jarring simply by his zealous descriptions of the protagonists surroundings. There was times when I wasn’t fully aware of where the protagonist was or what exactly it was that he was seeing. There were also times when I felt as though I couldn’t fully understand the protagonist as he struggles to understand the world and the people around him. But I find, now, that this misunderstanding is the entire point.

Lovecraft writes:

Unhappy is he to whom the memories of childhood bring only fear and sadness. Wretched is he who looks back upon lone hours in vast and dismal chambers with brown hangings and maddening rows of antique books, or upon awed watches in twilight proves grotesque, gigantic, and vine-encumbered tress that silently wave twisted branches far aloft. Such a lot the gods gave to me–to me, the dazed, the disappointed; the barren, the broken. And yet I am strangely content, and cling desperately to those sere memories, when my mind momentarily threatens to reach beyond to the other.

When he leaves the castle and searches for long sought after human contact, what he comes across is not what he expects. Which is exactly what I, as a reader, discovered when I finished the story. Nothing was as I expected it to be and neither was the protagonist. I took nothing in this story and came out with more than I bargained for. All in all, this story will throw you for a loop.

Verdict: 10/12


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