Lonesome Places

Recently, upon informing a friend that I was planning an excursion to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, with a side trip expected to Sauk City (the hometown of August Derleth and Arkham House), I was told that I must seek out “the lonesome place”. Now, it should be said that this friend of mine has amassed quite a collection of Arkham House books over the years and was gracious enough to lend me his copy of Lonesome Places (1962) so that I might better prepare myself for this journey into the dark heart of my neighboring state. While I have read my fair share of Derleth, I had never once heard of this particular “place” or the volume in which it first appeared. Needless to say, I consumed the book in the space of a few nights; and, while I enjoyed most of the offerings, the two which stood out as exceptional pieces of literary weird fiction were “The Lonesome Place” and “A Room in a House”. Both center upon the “dark things” which are given life through a child’s terror of (in these instances) either having to pass by an unlit grain elevator at night or spending time in a darkened storage room as punishment for wrongdoing. In my opinion, Derleth is at his very best in these particular tales. They are perfectly crafted and offer a delightful view of small town life. Both are definitely worth seeking out. Indeed, I have already added them to my own ever-growing anthology of weird treasures.

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