I’ve got to admit that this was chilling. I’ve used that to describe several books in the past, but honestly it’s the only way I can think of to describe this masterpiece. The Speed of the Dark was altogether unexpected, but I loved it. The gripping story of unrequited love turned sinister was woven through the streets and squares of somewhere which I am 99% certain was Bath (although I can’t be sure as Shearer would appear to have made a point of never mentioning its’ name) and the idea of something so unnerving happening so close to home gave it an unsettling layer of reality. Add to this the existence of decelerators (although I don’t quite understand what they do) and the fact that I know there actually are sculptors who create almost microscopic pieces, and you have a somewhat disturbing mixture of unconnected realities which have been brought together in an entirely ingenious manner.

I felt deeply sorry for all of the characters in this book; even the somewhat odious Mr Eckmann was to be pitied, I found, because I like to believe that he did in some way repent, and try to right his wrongs. This was a story on so many levels: you have the story of Christopher, whose life was irrevocably altered by the actions of others; you have the story of Robert and Poppea, who lost everything but each-other, and eventually gained a new life which they would never have chosen; you have the story of the little girl, Maria, who grew up as a speck of dust in the eyes of most of the world. Finally, of course, you have the story of Ernst Eckmann, who wanted to be loved so much that he took on the role of God, and controlled everything that he could. In some respects it was like re-reading the Bunker Diary with the added perspective of the man upstairs, because in many ways the stories are linked, and there is very little that can be done to deny that.

So yeah. Read it and be amazed.

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