Posts Tagged ‘The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones’

So you say there are no good books coming out nowadays, it’s all dried up like that sack of worms you left on the porch last fall?

Try this: The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones written by Jack Wolf.

So you think all literary writing has to be needlessly dull and artlessly depressing?

You think literary writing can’t be dark, sinister, and still touch the deep issues?

Well, you would be wrong, chump!

Read this or Raw Head will come for you in your sleep.

Read this or Raw Head will come for you in your sleep.


The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones is part fairy tale, part sinister probing into the dark recesses of the human condition, part historical portrayal of the early years of modern medicine.

One thing I appreciated about the tale is that it never felt inevitable.  The character actually underwent the changes in psyche while we were there with him.  (And the moments of non-lucidity were grand fun, to boot!)  But I never felt like, Oh, yes, of course that’s what’s going to happen.  Also, the mix of a magical fairy realm overlapping the stark reality was both fun to read and added an extra element of suspense.  There was something for every type of reader to hold onto, be it psychological suspense, a glimpse into the medical side of early psychiatry, a treatise on the use of criminal bodies for autopsy so medical schools would not have to resort to body snatching (a major crime that popped up back in that era!), or the magical flitters we couldn’t quite grasp because they were at once real and not quite.

Also, for you writers out there who think “it can’t be done, publishing is all dried up and not open to the weird, bizarre, or otherwise non-mainstream”, I can tell you that Jack Wolf was one of the writers on my course in Bath.  The debut writer really does exist!  (gasp!)  Stay the course.  Maybe it will take five years of editing, but isn’t it worth it, to read this and shudder?

Re-readability: It’s 500 pages, but yes, I do think it would be worth a second read.  The scope covered over two decades of fancy and intrigue deserve a second look to see just what was real, and how the author wove together this twisted little tale.

Would I burrow through the floor and hit someone with it?  Sure!  It’s 500 pages, and it’s going to hurt, so y’all’d best be watching when you hear a little scritch-scritch coming from the carpet.  DISCLAIMER: It’s not for everyone.  Mumsy-dearest would be horrified and try to get me exorcised.  Anyone easily offended… should probably stick to running the school carpool and screaming at children from the sidelines of the soccer field anyway.  Although, easily offended people, how do they procreate?



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