Ignatius Martin Perrish (an (innocent) person of interest in his girlfriend’s horrific murder) wakes up, intensely hungover, with horns. Only the latter is a new occurrence and Ig freaks out (does this make him the devil?). Unfortunately, in addition to actually having painful, throbbing horns extending from his skull, these horns encourage those Ig encounters to be overly forthcoming. As in their deepest, darkest, most heinous desires just flow forth. Ig discovers more than he ever wanted to know about many of his town’s inhabitants (and their shockingly vile opinion of him) and the answer to one mystery that has plagued him every single day since his girlfriend’s death.
Horns is an offbeat, darkly humorous novel from Joe Hill (follow-up to the also excellent Heart-Shaped Box). It is both a horror story and a love story – and an examination of exactly what each of us could be capable of. But perhaps most of all, it might be about sympathy for a devil.
This novel may also may you a wee bit sad about the state of humanity, or at least the state of humanity in Gideon, New Hampshire. As Ig encounters Gideon’s townsfolk, nearly everyone’s hidden desires were of a dark sexual nature. I sincerely wonder if this would be true. Of course, I don’t know anyone’s deepest, darkest secrets but my own, but mine aren’t like that (that’s not to say they are angelic). Of note though, this novel is not for those who are easily offended (or who might take offense from overt sexuality/language/violence). If you don’t fall into that category though, I’d highly recommend it; it is one of the most pleasantly melancholy, darkly comic, playful novels I’ve read in a long time.
“You think you know someone. But mostly you just know what you want to know.”
“It bewildered Ig, the idea that a person could not be interested in music. It was like not being interested in happiness.”
Song recommendation: Penny Lane or Let It Be by The Beatles
There is a scene with doughnuts, so I’m including a delicious (almost guilt free) baked Chocolate Cinnamon doughnut. It’s possible the scene might actually make you averse to doughnuts, but it’s good to be prepared.
4 thoughts on “Horns by Joe Hill”
I don’t know why I haven’t read Joe Hill yet since I adore his father and has read that his father thinks Joe Hill writes somewhat similar but with better imagination. Horns sounds excellent – I’ve added it to my wish list …
I would definitely recommend any of his books. Horns is probably my favorite, but Heart-Shaped Box is really lovely as well (if you like graphic novels at all you must read Locke and Key). I don’t consider their writing to be particularly similar (though it’s not devoid of similarities), but it’s not like comparing David Foster Wallace and Raymond Carver. Read it and let me know what you think. 🙂