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He moves between them in a way that creates dread and confusion, leaving readers on edge. A fascinating, mystical story that will make readers hold their breath. It speaks of the sea: of those who are upon it, beside it, beneath it.

The Town That Forgot How to Breathe

Kenneth J. Harvey, a writer like no other, is as knowledgeable as he is adventurous. A very exceptional novel, extraordinary in its power. His voice and vision are unique and strong through his writing, and it's just the breath of fresh air needed in horror fiction today.

Kenneth J Harvey

Harvey is an author whose storytelling prowess can speak for itself. Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror. Monitor Political Cartoons.

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Review: The Town That Forgot How to Breathe by Kenneth J. Harvey

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Select free newsletters: The Weekender. Christian Science Perspective. Monitor readers share their favorite book picks. January 20, By Jeff Barbalics, Cleveland. Share this article Copy link Link copied. A mysterious illness is sweeping the town, leaving people unable to take a breath.

Town That Forgot How to Breathe, The (Book)

And very strange things are starting to happen in the harbor and sea. Harvey blends multiple genres and story approaches in a story that is determinedly elusive about what direction it's coming from. At first, it feels likely to become a horror novel: the ghosts are not friendly and frequently disgusting, dead bodies are rising out of the sea, people are going crazy before they forget how to breathe, and the next-door neighbor is straight out of a gothic romance.

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However, the story never becomes truly frightening. The elderly and very practical Miss Laracy serves as an imperturbable guide and blunts much of the creepiness of what happens, and the characters start developing an understanding of what's going on and why.

The presence of second sight, spirits with family connections, and the sea as a spiritual source shifts the story towards a fantasy with some magic realist tendencies. And yet, the emotional concerns of the characters are very mainstream, focused on recovering a failed marriage, dealing with jealousy and misunderstanding, remembering one's culture, and staying in touch with the past. Sometimes this sort of novel manages the perfect blend of the strengths of several different genres. Unfortunately, in this case, I felt like the different themes were struggling against each other more than cooperating.