If Jonathan Swift Wrote Horror…

 

If  Jonathan Swift wrote horror, he might have written An Other Place. The creation of author Darren Dash,  An Other Place is an offbeat, intelligent, fantasy, in a similar vein to Darren Dash’s previous novel, Sunshine.

At the end of a work trip to Amsterdam, IT troubleshooter Newman Riplan is hijacked by his friends and sent on a surprise holiday to an undisclosed location. Although he catches his flight, Newman does not reach his intended location. Instead, in one of the novel’s most bizarre and chilling sequences, he is transported to an oddly superficial timeless world, known to its residents as the City.

Always a skilled storyteller, Darren Dash is quick to pull the reader into Newman’s dilemma, creating an existence that is both fascinating and yet claustrophobic. Although they seem human, the residents of the City are creepily one-dimensional, their world confined by a lack of borders, of entrances and exits. The reader becomes trapped in the City with Newman, looking for the way out.

Darren Dash is most well known as the YA horror author Darren Shan, and his horror antecedents regularly reveal themselves. An Other Place does not strictly belong to the horror genre, however, and it is aimed at adult readers. The inhabitants of the City are prey to savage attacks from the wild animals who roam freely and from terrifying interludes signaled by the reddening of the moon. An Other Place is a thoughtful novel that does not aim to terrify, but rather to unravel the layers people create to give a sense of meaning to their existence. As with Gulliver, Newman’s experiences in this fantastical world serve as a reflection of his own empty world view, forcing him to reassess his values and question the vapid lifestyle that was on evidence during his trip to Amsterdam. Powerful, imaginative, and occasionally disturbing, An Other Place will linger in the reader’s mind long after the last page is turned.

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