SEPTEMBER 2020 ✩ 17 PAGES/DAY
THE VARIOUS HAUNTS OF MEN, SUSAN HILL (549 PAGES)
READ: 265 PAGES
In a frenzy to find a book to start off the school year, I was immediately drawn to this book lying on top of copious amounts of (regrettable) former book purchases and (less regrettable) textbooks in my dim, yet comforting, basement. I have clear memories of reading this book in my Grade 6 school year. On the other hand, my memories of the overall plot is as foggy as the frosted glass I would draw hearts onto. I believe that Grade 6 was the definite year for my more questionable reads, such as the honorable and barely understandable book “To Kill A Mockingbird“. Like the novel by Harper Lee, I finished the book with a mere understanding of what exactly happened. I was probably too young to fully comprehend the plot. (I also have memories of my friend bothering me during the reading sessions, which led to me never being able to read. I needed new friends.)
My mother’s friend had given me this book after I told her that I loved the murder mystery genre. I’m still not sure how younger me managed to whip through 500+ pages like it was nothing. After the two-ish weeks of September, I’m not even halfway through the book. I find that with my previous 500+ read (The Shining), I quickly got drained from reading while also remaining intrigued with the plot. Will add more onto this with the following:
I would describe “The Various Haunts Of Men” as a book with several intricate story-lines that all tie together to one murderer. There are main characters, and there are side characters, and then there are characters that have one chapter for themselves and are never seen again. While I do enjoy the multiple point-of-views the story provides (I honestly find it refreshing and intriguing how the murders / deaths are affecting different people that seemingly have no correlation to each other), it’s hard to remember who is who. I could tell who a character is after a few sentences into the chapter, if that helps. I believe there’s around four (?) main characters in total. I really cannot tell which character is a main or a side character.
Honestly, I’ve always interpreted this novel as something that wanted to be too much all at once. Imagine a typical murder mystery plot, a whodunit scenario, with a mix of psychic surgeons and an awkward yet relatable police romance. I find the idea of psychic surgeons a whole lot more interesting than the murder as of late. The storyline with Debbie Parker was my favorite by a long shot (I say was for a reason). As I stated before, the variety of alternating chapters left me interested, yet the only chapter so far in the point-of-view of the murderer is definitely my favorite. That chapter was amazing, the only glimpse I’ve gotten so far into the mind and process of a planned-out murder. It was fascinating to figure out his thinking and motives behind his killing.
While I like this book, it definitely isn’t something I would read again (third times isn’t the charm). This book is way too long for my liking. Apparently its the first in a series (a series??????), with ten books in total. I’m not that committed to nine more books. I’m sorry. I do want to know who the murderer is, but do I really?
Despite starting this book a bit late into the school year, I’m proud of the progress I made so far. I could definitely finish the novel by next month. Obviously, my first goal is to complete what I’m currently reading (with around 200 pages left). The next novel I have my eyes on is either from H.P. Lovecraft or something based around historical fiction. I would like to broaden my horizons from what I would typically read.
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