What Are We Reading?: The Ritual, Adam Nevill
5/5 Cruel Poking Sticks
Give me the short version:
Four men choose the worst place ever to go hiking: a chunk of Swedish forest as old as the last ice age, where visceral ancient powers have never lost their hold.
I personally believe that the mind comes with its own raw, dangling uvula. A sort of racially shared Jungian psychic gag reflex. While writers like Chuck Palahnuik delight in ramming their finger in to induce vomiting, The Ritual skillfully tickles. Just enough to turn reasonable, educated people into packs of terrified violent apes with rocks in hand, standing back-to-back and screaming with loathing out into the vast unreasoning darkness. I did feel kind of bad for the book's depiction of pagan metal enthusiasts, as I know two of that ilk who are almost superhumanly kind and gentle people - but the generalisation well suits our view through the eyes of the (barely) middle-class London protagonist. The Ritual will make you want to seek out some warm, well-lit place stuffed with the comfort of good food and friends, but will leave you still uneasily aware of the night outside.