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The Cloud of Unknowing (Otto Penzler Book)

by Thomas H. Cook

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There isn't a book by Thomas H Cook that I don't love, but is perhaps my favorite. A history of family mental illness, misunderstood genius, devotion, & the fear of what lurks inside each of us, this book just grabs you & doesn't let go. A young boy drowns, & his mother holds the father responsible, though the law cannot. In her tragic genius, she thinks she finds a witness to the act. When I grasped what she was going to use as evidence, I gasped, & wept for her. Also under the title The Murmur of Stones, read this book. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
One of those novels I find you get from good, highly productive novelists. There something not quite right about them. Maybe a character is a bit too sketchy, motivation seems thin, setup doesn't quite make sense. But the writer just lives with the voids. Suggests there's something there, but doesn't draw it for you. And you, the reader, provide out of your own stock of hopes, fears and neuroses. Such books really ought to be sold at a discount. Not a masterwork here by any means, but masterfully done perhaps? ( )
  ehines | Dec 19, 2015 |
Young Jason Regan has been found drowned in a pond near his home whilst in the care of his brilliant scientist father, Mark. Mark was on the edge of a brilliant scientific breakthrough, so was distracted by his research the day Jason drowned. THE MURMUR OF STONES opens with the court handing down the decision that no-one was to blame for his death; Jason was a victim of misadventure. The story of the aftermath of the decision is told through the eyes of David Sears, Jason’s uncle. The reader knows something big has happened, but what it is, and who it has happened to is shielded until the very end. David narrates the events in the book to Detective Petrie, who was the police officer assigned to the search for the missing Jason.

David and his sister, Diana, survived being brought up by their paranoid schizophrenic father who died when David was thirteen. Jason had also been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia, and Diana feels great guilt as she has handed the gene onto her son. David starts to worry as Diana announces that she believes that her husband murdered her son, all she has to do is prove it. With her growing obsession over researching the crime, Diana starts to show the symptoms of the disease that destroyed her father. Symptoms like the inability to difference between real and imaginary experiences, suffering delusions and auditory hallucinations. Auditory hallucinations are voices in the head, and David describes these voices as the sounds of the murmur of stones. Many of the characters hear stones murmuring, and eventually it gets to the point where it is hard to tell the difference between the sane and the insane; to distinguish what is real and what is delusionary, what to believe and what to dismiss.

A thriller doesn’t need to get the pulses racing with high speed car chases and explosions. A thriller can also get into your mind, it can quietly get you to hold your breath and pause when you turn the page as you don’t know what’s going to be revealed on the next page. The chapters are short and full of ominous revelations, broken up by the interview room scenes, where the questions are asked to get David to relate more of the story. But are the revelations the truth or a delusion. Is David to be relied on as a witness? What is he in the Police Station being interviewed for?

This is a must read book, and I’ll eat my hat if it doesn’t win awards. Thomas H Cook takes you on a journey into madness, where nothing can be relied on. He carries you through to the end and leaves you panting and wondering about your own sanity.

  sally906 | Apr 3, 2013 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this psychological drama of madness, obsession, and family secrets. I will definitely read more books from this author. ( )
  bhowell | Sep 22, 2010 |
A lawyer is questioned by a detective about a crime which is unclear at first. In a family riddled with paranoid schizophrenia, Dave has watched his father be committed twice and die at home under the care of his sister, and then his young nephew deteriorate and drown in the family's pond. The sister is convinced her husband killed the boy and proceeds, in a downward spiral, to try to prove it, even as she begins to exhibit their father's paranoia. As Dave is questioned, the consequences of these actions, and Dave's part in the tragedy which ensues, are slowly revealed in a tense story which is extremely hard to put down. ( )
  auntmarge64 | Jul 1, 2010 |
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Published under two different titles: "The Cloud of Unknowing" and "The Murmur of Stones".
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151012601, Hardcover)

David Sears grew up in the shadow of his brilliant younger sister, Diana, convinced by their father that she would accomplish great things. Instead, she married and had a son, Jason, who—like David and Diana’s father—is schizophrenic. Her husband, Mark, a geneticist, never made peace with Jason’s condition.
 
Perhaps this is why, when Jason drowns, Diana will not accept the authorities’ conclusion that his death was accidental. Or perhaps Diana is going mad. She begins to send David faxes and e-mails about ancient murders, driven by her growing belief that the earth is Gaia, a living witness to her son’s murder who could give evidence in the case she is building against her husband. David soon fears for his own family’s safety as the seductive qualities of Diana’s manic energy become impossible to ignore.
 
In The Cloud of Unknowing, Cook explores the power of blood and family mythology.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:22 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"David Sears grew up in the shadow of his brilliant younger sister, Diana, convinced by their father that she would accomplish great things. Instead, she married and had a son, Jason, who - like David and Diana's father - is schizophrenic. Her husband, Mark, a geneticist, never made peace with Jason's condition." "Perhaps this is why, when Jason drowns, Diana will not accept the authorities' conclusion that his death was accidental. Or perhaps Diana is going mad. She begins to send David faxes and e-mails about ancient murders, driven by her growing belief that the earth is Gaia, a living witness to her son's murder who could give evidence in the case she is building against her husband. David soon fears for his own family's safety as the seductive qualities of Diana's manic energy become impossible to ignore." "In The Cloud of Unknowing, Cook explores the power of blood and family mythology."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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