The Fleshless Man

February 1, 2018 at 5:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

fleshlessThe Fleshless Man by Norman Prentiss


Thanks to Invisible Fences, I added Norman Prentiss to my list of authors to read, no matter what. It was a quiet, deliberate story of disquiet and uncertainty, told in a straightforward, engrossing style. It impressed the hell out of me, and I knew this was a writer to whom I should pay attention.

Had I started with The Fleshless Man, that might not have happened.

The story isn’t bad, nor is it not creepy. Like Invisible Fences, it looks at family dynamics and uses that as a starting point for a horror story, but where Fences lulled us with its soft style and compelling characters, Fleshless lulls us to sleep.

The story is about two brothers and how they cope with their mother’s impending death. One brother left home long ago, to escape the suffocating home and town, while the other stayed behind and ultimately had to take care of their mother. With her death only days away, the other brother returns home, and the problems of their home life returns to him, only this time he’s also haunted by the fleshless man, who his mother says is trying to kill her.

The fleshless man invades the one brother’s dreams, and since this is all happening while he is dealing with feelings of guilt over his mother and brother, it’s hard to say if the fleshless man is a real entity, or just something he’s created to help him with his feelings. Maybe it’s up to the reader to decide. I don’t mind ambiguous endings, but I prefer there to be a bit more closure with a story than The Fleshless Man provides.

I’m willing to admit that the story may have gone over my head, but after the quiet brilliance of Invisible Fences, I was expecting something different from The Fleshless Man. I’d recommend it to other readers of horror, namely because maybe they’ll get the point better than I did, and can explain it to me. While the story is one that will stay with me for its imagery, it’s not one that will stay with me for making a strong connection with me.

Started: November 13, 2017
Finished: November 13, 2017

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