Pork Pie Hat

Author: Peter Straub
Genre: Horror
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Cemetery Dance Publications
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Pages: 148

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Goodreads Synopsis: When a graduate student with a passion for jazz arrived in New York to discover that a legendary saxophonist he had assumed long dead is not only still alive but playing in an East Village club, he spends night after night in awe-struck attendance. And when the legend grants him an interview on Halloween, he jumps at the opportunity. What unfolds is an endless night filled with an extraordinary story told by a dying master: a story centered upon the Halloween night of his eleventh year, a white woman screaming in a shanty town, a killer and an unidentified man fleeing with a strange bundle in his arms.


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This is supposed to be one of those quick reads that gives you a scare, even more if read during October, but sadly I didn’t have many of those feels. Instead of breezing through this novel, it took way too long to get past most of the pages. I had to skim through a good amount, which is definitely not good when the novel is already so short.

“Above all, I was curious about the texture of his life– I wondered what his life, the life of a genius, tasted like. If I could have put my half-formed fantasies into words, I would have described my naive, uninformed conceptions of Leonard Bernstein’s surroundings.”

I was interested by some of the story told by Hat, about his childhood and what had him spooked to an extreme that he never stepped outside of his door on Halloween night. Though I felt that was well done, much of everything else that filled this book just didn’t do it for me. I was extremely bored by a great amount of it and continuously read on trying to find a footing with it, just to be disappointed again.

“I experienced a wobble of doubt. Maybe the great man’s life was nothing like my imaginings. Hat wore decent clothes, but did not seem rich– he seemed to exist at the same oblique angle to worldly success that his nightly variations on “Too Marvelous For Words” bore to the original melody.”

I’m not sure if I’ll ever read this book again. I’d like to say I would give it another go, but it just doesn’t seem like something I’ll do anytime soon. I don’t want to completely rule it out as I did like parts of it and was left intrigued by Hat’s story and everything that surrounded his life, it was just all the dragging along in the inbetween pages that I could have done without. If only it included more of those other feels, I might have rated this a bit higher.


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