Name: Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe
Author: Edgar Allan Poe, M.S. Corley (Illustrator)
Number of Pages: 81 (Kindle)
Published: July 26th 2016 by AmazonEncore
Genre: Classics, Horror
Edgar Allan Poe is known as the forefather of suspense and modern crime fiction. For the first time ever, Darkness There showcases some of his most famous tales with stunning digital illustrations. Each story explores a different twist of madness, murder, and melancholy, from the horror of being buried alive in “The Fall of the House of Usher” to the desperate case of two gruesome killings in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” The heartbeat of paranoia in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the razor-sharp claustrophobia in “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and a mourner’s torment in “The Raven” reveal—and revel in—life’s creepiest and craziest. These tales are not for the faint of heart or the thin of skin.
This is my first encounter with the works of Edgar Allan Poe. It’s a short collection of stories and a poem, and made a nice change to reading a really long novel. I enjoy long novels, but sometimes it’s nice to have something to read in one sitting, and most of the stories in this volume provided just that.
The Tell-Tale Heart goes straight to the heart of the matter, quite literally, as the unnamed narrator sets out to commit murder only to be plagued with guilt in the aftermath.
The Fall of the House of Usher paints and wonderfully grim and Gothic picture of a grand old family mansion and the strange siblings abiding there together, having never left the house for years. Into this our narrator goes for a visit and find himself confronted with surreal, eerie and strange events.
I think I’ve probably read bits of The Raven in the past, but can’t recall I’ve ever actually read the whole poem, never having been a great fan of poetry. I loved the musical rhythm of the verse, and the haunting melancholy of the mourner and the raven. Very atmospheric.
The Murders in the Rue Morgue offers up a locked room mystery. I found this one overly wordy to begin with but I stuck with it and witnessed a pretty unique solution to a double murder. Can’t say I’ve ever come across that before, and it’s not something I would ever have been able to guess at.
The Pit and the Pendulum was another surprise. I guess I’ve seen the general idea used in a movie or two, but had no idea what the actual story was about. I was confused at first, rather like the central character as he wakes to find he has no clue where he is, but the tension rises and the claustrophobia mounts and it built into quite an exciting conclusion to the story collection.
The scene is set quickly in these stories, and the air of creepiness pervades throughout each narrative to varying degrees. My first Poe reading experience was pretty mixed, and I’m surprised that I probably enjoyed the lyrical poetry of The Raven most of all, although I loved the dramatic conclusion of The Fall of the House of Usher too. I’d certainly try another tale or two by Edgar Allan Poe.