Against the Light

Against the Light
by Grant, Kenneth
Reviewed by Julianus

Categories: General Magick Ceremonial Magick Lovecraftian

This is the second novel of Grant's to be published and the first book from Starfire, longtime publishers of the “Typhonian OTO” journal. The production quality is quite lavish and this was certainly printed with an eye for the collectors' market, but what of the story? Against the Light covers the search for an ancient Grimoire containing the sigils that are Keys to the Nightside. The star of this narrative is none other than Kenneth Grant himself, with a supporting cast of his own friends and relatives, some of whom will be familiar to readers of his “non-fiction”, but which are here used (or so one may assume) fictitiously. One of the natural results of this is that one is uncertain just how to take much of the story. Is Grant disguising fact as fiction or fiction as fact? I have long suspected that he's been doing the latter in his other books, so is he finally coming clean here? I confess I simply can't tell. For one thing I don't know his family history, something that is crucial to the plot.

Essentially this novel is a sort of Lovecraft pastiche consisting of long dreamlike passages through various Gateways into other realities. I get the feeling that Grant mined his dream journal for most of the episodes. He still insists on depicting magical work in the most lurid, pulpish light and tries to fill the reader's head with all manner of silly warnings. Seems that Kenneth still needs fear to get the juices flowing after all these years. Nothing really fits together very well and, while this may have been the intent, I can't help feeling the book would have been better for another rewrite. There is no attempt at characterisation and the story is never resolved: it simply stops.

Publisher Starfire Publishing Ltd.
Date 1997
ISBN Amazon Amazon.ca Amazon.co.uk Abebooks Powell's
Price