"The Narrows" or "How Horror Became Scary Again" by Ronald Malfi

The Narrows - Ronald Malfi

My first Malfi novel and it won’t be my last.


In the last few years I shied away from the horror genre. I always got the feeling of déjà vu. Malfi made me want to read Horror again.


I’ve always felt that Horror works better as a short story than in long form (novel). Of course exceptions abound, but they just confirm this rule. “The Narrows” is one of those novels (like “The Stand” by King was as well).


No noticeable “style” to be seen (excluding multiple POV’s, which I don’t count as “style”). Still on the subject of style (or lack of it), I’ve always considered style a dreadful thing for a writer to have…Nothing is so refreshing as to read a novel where “style” is strangely absent. The proverbial “what you see is what you get” is quite an apt analogy here. When an author tries to come up with an intelligent way of putting things on paper, that’s when things start going wrong.


Because this novel was my first Malfi, I’ve got nothing to compare it with. Malfi seems to be old-school in this novel. Let me explain. He seems to dwell on the dreadful (like King). In this respect he has taken a risk, for horror is in fashion nowadays. The number of horror of novels coming out is huge. Unfortunately quality is not on par with quantity. The death of horror was announced my many, but it’s still here.


Horror in my view comes from that grey area, which we cannot confront directly because it’s so threatening to our minds. It’s through Horror that we can address the stuff coming from that grey area, ie, through literature (metaphor).


Malfi was able to retain everything that make Horror what it should be in the first place: captivating, heartfelt, intense, and in one word: “Truly horrific”.


This is not a novel about heroes. Through the use of the multiple-POV I was able to experience what almost all the characters were going through, ie, Malfi’s character development was so full-fledged that by the end of the novel, I felt I knew everyone well and what’s more, I really cared about them.


In this novel Evil is not supposed to be understood. It’s shown in it most pure form. Evil for evil’s sake so to speak (“The Stand” by King comes to mind).


This novel shows that Horror is still a vigorous and living body of literature that continues to evolve and thrill me with the mystery and wonders of the unknown.


I’ve got to dig up some of his other novels and confirm whether this particular work was not some kind of fluke.