Monday, 30 September 2013

Robert Westall on the Wireless

Robert Westall's 1991 novella, 'The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral', is a pretty neat modern Gothic tale of a steeplejack repairing the eponymous (fictional) edifice. He becomes a bit fixated on an evil-looking gargoyle and it emerges that the thing is linked to sorcery and a hidden chamber in the structure. It's well-worth reading, but if you like radio drama you can hear an adaptation made by the BBC here.


4 comments:

Oscar Solis said...

Thanks for the link.I came across this book last year and enjoyed it very much. It builds up a nice feeling of dread.

Aonghus Fallon said...

I thought I'd read pretty much all Westall's stuff, but don't remember this story - I'll definitely check it out.

The premise reminds me a bit of a character who helps the mc in 'FutureTrack 5' - a tough, if rather sinister scot who suffered a series of setbacks before seeing a face in the grainy surface of a wardrobe* and with which he becomes obsessed. He paints what he sees and from that point on his life changes for the better. He keeps the painting in his office. It is not a nice face, and the implication is that he has made an unspoken deal with the devil. This story is all the more effective for being peripheral to the main story, and because it's ambiguous. The character may only think he's made a deal with the devil: Westall seems to be implying that this comes to pretty much the same thing.

* or at least, as far as I can recall. It was a long time ago.

Oscar Solis said...

Aonghus- Spoiler alert. There is a deal made and it's a pretty horrifying one. That's as far as I'll go. It seemed to come out of left field, at least to me, but in a way that makes total sense (although a rereading may indicate that the clues are there). Still, it's a nice little mystery and kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next.

Aonghus Fallon said...

Sounds intriguing!