Universal Harvester

Universal Harvester

Book - 2017
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Jeremy works at the Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa in the late 1990s, and he has a problem-- someone is altering the video tapes, inserting poorly lit home video scenes which are odd, sometimes violent, and deeply disquieting. There are recognizable landmarks from just outside of town. As Jeremy investigates, he becomes part of an impossible search for something someone once lost-- and would do anything to regain.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780374282103
Branch Call Number: F DARNI-J
Characteristics: 214 pages ; 22 cm


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Oct 20, 2017

Apparently this was marketed as a horror novel? Luckily I didn't know that so I was able to experience Darnielle's clear prose unencumbered by that expectation. Sure, there are creepy bits here and there, but mostly it's an examination of loss and how people deal with it. There are a few annoying MacGuffins sprinkled throughout that muddy some of the "mystery" you'll be tempted to unravel. I recommend just enjoying the emotion the text can bring to the surface and not waste your time trying to tie everything up in a tidy bow by the end of the book.

Aug 28, 2017

Not worthy of comment.

OLATHEAllisonB Jul 06, 2017

Mysterious and murky, this novel attempts to be profound about loss and grief, with some success. Darnielle maintains a bleak and haunting tone throughout the setting of small-town Iowa, and the mystery running as a common thread between the chapters has a surprising conclusion. At times, though, the language comes across as pretentious, rambling on without saying anything important. An occasionally interesting read, but not a memorable one.

CRRL_MegBingham Jun 22, 2017

Awesome read. Universal Harvester is a serious homage to David Lynch mysteries such as the newly revived Twin Peaks on the Showtime network, classic horror movies such as The Ring and David Cronenberg's Videodrome.

May 30, 2017

It is so hard to write a review about this book. It wasn't satisfying, memorable, or worthy of a recommendation.

SareM91 May 09, 2017

A slow-paced book about loss and longing. It says the genre is horror but it is not horror! So don't go into this thinking it's horror because you will be very disappointed.

Cynthia_N Mar 13, 2017

Eerie read! I must admit I feel like most of the readers who have reviewed this book, I'm just not sure whether I liked or understood it. That being said, it was a worthwhile read and I believe this would make a great horror movie.

Mar 10, 2017

A confusing plot. Love the setup and the location, but it was a slog to reach the middle. Not my cup of tea.

LPL_DirectorBrad Dec 30, 2016

I am not certain I even know how to review this book, but I could not put it down. The story is creepy yet in the most subtle and mellowest sense. The writing is quite plain yet mesmerizing. As the book moves beyond the creepy set piece of its first part, it becomes less creepy and begins to open up into a larger narrative. There is a vagueness as to what may or may not be going on in this novel that allows it to expand in your mind and let you come to your own conclusions as to what you're reading. I still don't quite know how to process Universal Harvester, but needless to say, it's fantastic second novel by Mr. Darnielle.


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