« It is always a relief to get clear of the place […]. Afterward one sometimes learn that one has been through Dunwich. Outsiders visit Dunwich as seldom as possible, and since a certain season of horror all the signboards pointing toward it have been taken down »
These few lines allow you to discover the atmosphere in the short story The Dunwich horror written by the famous american author Howard Phillips Lovecraft. The story unfolds in a fictive place -Dunwich- which is supposed to be located in Massachusetts (USA). The reader attends Wilbur Whateley’s birth and childhood. He lives in an isolated farm with his mother and his grandfather who both have a bad reputation: they are suspected of witchcraft. Wilbur grows up abnormally fast: with only 1 year, he can speak and with 4 years he seems to be 10. Other strange things happen concerning this family : the grandfather buy many cows and they die one after the other ; there is a terrible odor around the farm and at night we can hear some rumblings… as if the Whateleys breed a mysterious beast… Moreover Wilbur wants to borrow a strange book: the Necronomicon. (nekros=death, corpse)
I liked this book -it would have been great to read during Halloween- but I have to advise you that it is quite uneasy for a novice to enter Lovecraft’s universe ! The writer invented a complet myth (whose name is Cthulhu Mythos) with its gods (which are in fact extraterrestrial entities), cults and its reference book: the Necronomicon. Lovecraft belonged to a philosophy/movement that he created: the cosmicism whose main theme is the insignificance of man. To show you an example ; Lovecraft said: « the human race will disapear. Other races will appear and disappear in turn ».
To summarize, the story is pleasant though a little bit weird and obviously horrific but when we want to know more about its author and his works, it’s quite complex (it’s a bit similar to a rich universe like the Lord of the Rings for instance).