The Dark

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THE DARK –  View on Amazon

by Lemony Snicket; illustrated by Jon Klassen; published (2013) by Harper Collins

My first thought on seeing the cover and the words ‘The Dark by Lemony Snicket’ was, “This is going to be another crazy, funny, Snickety kind of book.”  But wow, it wasn’t.  Nothing crazy here.  A lovely, lean, taut piece of writing.  Smart and ominous.  And so original.  Who would’ve thought to personify The Dark?  Snicket, who else!  Though the fact that he’s surprised me once again I would say is no surprise and, happily, the ending does have a snicker-worthy twist to it.

Laszlo is afraid of the dark; the dark lives in the same house as Laszlo.  You’re pulled along beautifully and the pacing is perfect. 

  Sometimes the dark hid in the closet.  Sometimes it sat behind the shower curtain. But mostly it spent its time in the basement.  All day long the dark would wait in a distant corner, far from the squeaks and rattles of the washing machine, pressed up against some old, damp boxers and a chest of drawers nobody ever opened.  At night, of course, the dark went out and spread itself against the windows and doors of Laszlo’s house.

….Laszlo thought that….maybe the dark wouldn’t come visit him in his room.  But one night – it did.

“Laszlo,” the dark said, in the dark……

…”I want to show you something,” said the dark. 

Elegant.  Creepy.  It has you wondering how Laszlo will deal with the dark, but it’s the dark who deals with Laszlo.  The dark gives the boy something useful and rather sweet to help him live with its shady, impalpable self.

    By the time Laszlo got back into bed, the dark was no longer in his room…

      …The dark kept on living with Laszlo, but it never bothered him again.

A really nice book. Can you tell I’m a Snicket fan?  If there is only one minor flaw it’s that the solution is perhaps not the best ultimate solution, but hey, I like it anyway.  Here are a couple of tempting trailers – the first posted by the Guardian and read by Neil Gaiman:  The Dark – trailer 1 and the other  The Dark – trailer 2 posted by the Huffington Post.  You’ll note Jon Klassen’s clean, straightfoward illustrations have quite the impact.

And here’s a link to the National Post:  Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen discuss The Dark.

To buy some inexpensive prints by the illustrator, click here.


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