The Croning

The Croning

by Laird Barron


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Strange things exist on the periphery of our existence, haunting us from the darkness looming beyond our firelight. Black magic, weird cults and worse things loom in the shadows. The Children of Old Leech have been with us from time immemorial. And they love us...

Donald Miller, geologist and academic, has walked along the edge of a chasm for most of his nearly eighty years, leading a charmed life between endearing absent-mindedness and sanity-shattering realization. Now, all things must converge. Donald will discover the dark secrets along the edges, unearthing savage truths about his wife Michelle, their adult twins, and all he knows and trusts. For Donald is about to stumble on the secret...

...of The Croning.

From Laird Barron, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of The Imago Sequence and Occultation, comes The Croning, a debut novel of cosmic horror.

Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597802314
Publisher: Night Shade
Publication date: 02/05/2013
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 199,463
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Laird Barron is the author of two collections: The Imago Sequence and Occultation. His work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies. An expatriate Alaskan, Barron currently resides in the wilds of Upstate New York.

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The Croning 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Michael-Griffin More than 1 year ago
The Croning follows Don Miller, a genial yet seemingly addle-minded older gent whose career in geology has trailed off, along with his mental acuity. Don's wife Michelle, though nearly the same age, continues jetting around the globe, exploring, conferencing, and occasionally vanishing in ways that seem both secretive and suspicious. The book begins with an altered and mood-shifted version of the Rumplestilskin fable, which takes place in some indeterminate distant past, and also connects to the later story of Don, Michelle and their families. From there, the story moves from the 1950s to the 1980s to the present day. Time is not merely linear and forward-moving, in fact the looping, repetitive and continuous nature of time is a matter of repeated focus here. We encounter secret agents, corrupt police, weird rituals, and Barron's oft-present bored, wealthy decadents messing with things they oughtn't. The stories of Don, Michelle, their ancestors and the shadowy followers of Old Leach are full of dark mysteries, secrecy and possible betrayals. As a critic, even an informal one, do I compare The Croning against Barron's masterful shorter works, or against contemporary novels of horror and weird fiction by other authors? I'd say by any standard The Croning is a success. That's not to say The Croning eclipses such masterworks as "The Forest," "The Imago Sequence" or "Mysterium Tremendum" in craft, narrative impact or overall quality. Rather he equals the standard set by his own shorter works, and by doing so in the more widely accepted and commercially viable form of the novel, takes that necessary next step toward asserting a more general dominance over the horror/weird genre. A few years ago, any mention of Laird Barron's work invariably mentioned the word "Lovecraftian," yet over time Barron's work removed any question that his brand of cosmic horror had more going on than emulation of Lovecraft. Barron is in the process of establishing his own mythos with its own geography, including complex legends and interlocking structures of cause and effect. Readers familiar with his previous stories such as "The Men From Porlock" and others, will spot elements in The Croning which echo, either explicitly or implicitly, names, locations or events from earlier stories. With The Croning, Laird Barron steps outside the short fiction arena and proves his style, combining the brisk energy of pulp storytelling with the dense richness of literary prose, translates well to novel length. This broader canvas allows Barron time to accumulate disorientation, build up a painful tension, and gradually lower the reader into cosmic, abyssal darkness. After reading the last page, I felt the need to reorient myself, the way a diver must decompress after delving into deep waters. This is a powerful, affecting work of fiction, and the fact that it's a first novel implies great things are ahead for Barron and his readers. This guy is doing work of the highest order, and any fan of weird fiction, horror or dark fantasy needs to check it out. If you've held off checking out Laird Barron because you don't like short fiction, start with The Croning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Croning is another excellent tale from Laird Barron. I think the length of the novel was adequate and he manages to tell a lot of story without unnecessary padding or over descriptive paragraphs. This novel has so many clever twists and turns that all link in as the novel closes. It is well worth reading and it is a superb horror novel in my opinion. I would suggest that potential readers of this book read Laird's novelette called, 'The Men From Porlock' first. However, that isn't a must and either can be read first or not at all. Both stories are excellent but The Croning will learn you much more about 'Old Leech' and his love for you and yours...
Marty0 More than 1 year ago
I love Barron's stuff, to find out that he recently published another book not too far from The Croning has me excited.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really well written. Genuinely scary. Can't remember the last time any book really spooked me! Tempted to read it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Prepare to work for this one, because it's almost incomprehensible. Time loops around, backward and forward, starting and ending with a fairy tale. Don, the hapless main character, stumbles his way through event after terrifying event, letting everything slide with excuses of memory loss and an inexplicable loyalty to his mysterious wife. The reader, and Don, only learn what's really going on when its too late. I enjoyed the hell out of this, although I think I'll have to read it a few more times before I can explain why.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bizarre yet frightening with a most tragic ending. Was it a nightmare, created in the last moments by a confused, deteriorated, dying mind, or, god forbid, something worse?
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name chioce?
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring and tedious !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book contains some interesting stories but the author seems to be under the delusion that foul language and filthy descriptions of sexual acts belongs in fairy tales. Without the filth the book could have been great but the vile language and descriptions of sex took from the pleasure of the actual stories. A good tale only requires a good vocabulary and our language has a fantastic variety of descriptive language that doesn't go past the boundaries of good taste and writing.