*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*
The strange and mysterious story of what happens when a stranger comes to town…
Satan, in the form of a bewildered and naked old man, arrives in Brighton one dark and snowy December morning. That night a gull kills itself trying to get at Lucy Cuthman, a charity worker in her early 30s, through her bedroom window. A thick fog descends over the city – and lingers. The Old Man is twice attacked on the streets, before finding the squat where Geoffrey Cantor, our cultured and Byron-quoting narrator, lives. The Old Man discovers he has a mesmeric singing voice, and starts to busk around Brighton. He attracts the attention of Lucy, who is so diabolically enchanted that she can only see him as a beautiful young boy in need of help. In this guise, the Old Man visits her at work one evening – and promptly disappears. Hopelessly beguiled, Lucy searches everywhere for him. Meanwhile, mysterious bundles of money start turning up at her charity.
I found this short little book a quick and interesting read, full of dark and unsettling imagery. It is very beautifully written – the prose is really outstanding, conjuring up some really powerful scenes. In the beginning I struggled a little to understand what was going on, it is made entirely clear who the narrator is, or who he is telling the story to. I feel if this had been more clearly outlined, I would have enjoyed the story more. The story is in many ways is a modern day take on the fall of Eve, and the seductive nature of Satan.
Interestingly the book is set in Brighton, and having been there a few times, it makes for an interesting read with the familiar location and the tense and unusual story. I did find it a little difficult to connect with the characters, though I found Lucy to be the most interesting. The story has some really wonderful tense scenes – the one where a seagull attempts to break through the skylight window in attempt to reach Lucy, and her first encounter with the Old Man were two particularly fantastic scenes, the writing and pace of the story being absolutely excellent. The style of writing fits extremely well with the story, and flows very easily.
This was a really unique little read, and with it being only around eighty pages, it’s certainly a quick read and one you will easily be absorbed into on a dark winter night like tonight.