The Statement of Randolph Carter by H.P. Lovecraft

I must start this review by saying a few words about the author. I do this because you must know before reading this review that H.P. Lovecraft awes me. In this writer's mind, Lovecraft is a maestro of the written word. His mastery of the English language, particularly as it pertains to morbid adjectives, knows only one equal - Edgar Allen Poe. If you were to take any given paragraph written by Lovecraft and compare it to any given paragraph by myself and compare them it would be tantamount to comparing Da Vinci's Madonna of the Rocks to a toddler's scribbling in crayon upon his mother's wall. Therefore, not only am I unfit to judge Lovecraft's writings, but I am biased due to the reverence with which I view this H.P. Lovecraft. Fortunately, I am audacious enough to try. This will not be my only attempt, either. You will be seeing quite a few of these Lovecraft reviews in the coming days.

H.P. Lovecraft's The Statement of Randolph Carter is a very short, very enigmatic story. It is, as the title suggests, the statement of a man named Randolph Carter. After reading for a moment or two, the reader comes to realize that Randolph Carter is being questioned about the disappearance of his friend Harley Warren. The reader is not privy to any questions he has been asked or who is questioning him. The entirety of the story is Carter's statement regarding what he remembers taking place before the abovementioned disappearance.

Randolph Carter explains that he and Harley Warren were investigating something that the reader must assume is paranormal in nature. The investigation was mostly Warren's doing, with Randolph acting as something of an assistant. Warren takes Carter to an ancient graveyard in the woods. He says only that he is seeking something terrible and that he wishes for Carter to keep a safe distance. Lovecraft never once describes precisely what Warren is seeking, nor what he finds. We only know that Warren was unable to help his friend and whatever entity they were seeking told Randolph Carter that Harley Warren is dead. The entity does not reveal itself to Carter at this time, but he may have later. Carter had no recollection beyond the moment he learns of his friend's demise.

H.P. Lovecraft never reveals what happened to Harley Warren or Randolph Carter for that matter. He never says what was lurking in that graveyard or if Carter was able to contain it before he got away. For all the reader knows, the entity or entities was let loose and could be stalking Randolph Carter as he speaks. The absence of a description of the horror that these two men came upon makes it almost worse than any horror that can be described. Such is the mastery of H.P. Lovecraft.

Shelly Barclay

2 comments:

  1. My all–time favourite Lovecraft tale is The Colour out of Space. It builds in creeping horror so chillingly and so effectively that it’s quite haunting.

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  2. I haven't caught that one yet. I have been attempting to read more Lovecraft. His prose is unmatched.

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