We continue my post-Coffin Hop appreciation with another hopper’s book…
100 UNFORTUNATE DAYS
by Penelope Crowe
Background: Penelope Crowe is an artist and writer of dark fiction, and her novel 100 Unfortunate Days was published at the end of September. You can read more on her blog, As the Crowe Flies.
What it’s about: A madwoman keeps a diary for 100 days and shares her thoughts, dark and twisted and insane as they may be. This is a very unconventional book; if you’re expecting a linear plot (or, really, any plot at all), then think again. The vignettes are loosely strung together by virtue of their narrator and a few threads that hang on through multiple days.
Yet strangely, this book needs no plot. It grips you through the sheer mania of the writing and the exploration of the woman’s psychology. Unburdened by plot, you travel deep into the recesses of her psychosis. This seems to work more as a character study than an actual novel.
Perhaps because of this lack of plot, I found the end somewhat empty and unsatisfying. We built up to day 100 with increasingly crazy narratives and anecdotes, and some part of me expected a revelation or culmination of these things on day 100. As it was, the final day was unimpressive, and I felt it could have even been switched with a more interesting day to end the book on a strong note. But it was definitely still worth the read.
Why it will keep you up at night: Madness is both fascinating and terrifying. How are we to know what the people around us are really thinking? We might be surrounded by people who have a skewed view of reality, perhaps skewed in a very dark way. Madness allows our worst fears to come to life, since the boundaries of reality are broken, and I think this is why horror writers are so drawn to insane characters. This book will certainly leave you wondering about the nature of madness and the chance that you might be mad yourself…