Reivew: "The Centaur" by Algernon Blackwood
This is a character study of one Terence O’Malley, an Irishman the narrator seems to hold dear, almost as a brother or lover. I hasten to add, however, that there is no suggestion of sexuality. It’s stressed that while O’Malley is good company, he’s isolated. He loves the outdoors and feels a strong, perhaps spiritual connection with the nature. He’s an outsider. He never marries.
O’Malley keeps a small apartment the narrator goes through after his death, but never has guests. He spends most of his time traveling. It’s on one of these trips that he first sees a large man and his son. There’s instant, unspoken communication.
There is minimal dialogue. Most of the narrative is describing O’Malley or O’Malley’s ideas and character. I found the story tedious, despite the big reveal at the end. The interminable discussion about the role of Reason with the soul, and soul extension I saw as trying and not at all entertaining or engaging. This is only my opinion, of course, and others may find it more interesting, but my attention wandered and I had to bring it back to the page time and time again. This annoyed me because I’ve read some fine ghost stories by Blackwood. This just didn’t happen to be one of them.
Title: “The Centaur” first published 1911
Author: Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951)
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©2015 Denise Longrie
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