The Mourning House - Ronald Malfi
I am a great fan of Ronald Malfi and think his writing is full of eloquence and heartbreaking moments. He has a descriptive style that is very easy to read and always draws the reader in. In The Mourning House we meet Sam Hatch a deeply disturbed and unhappy individual who has moved to an isolated dwelling following the tragic death of his wife and daughter. We soon learn that Sam is emotionally upset and his state of mind is spiralling out of control as he attempts to come to terms with his loss. The starkness and isolation of the house is the perfect setting for the author to explore the sadness and loneliness of Sam’s mind tragically leading to the inevitable outcome. As an example of Malfi’s style just look at his descriptive powers when he describes the cancerous pain of “the woman in the headscarf” in the opening pages....

”When he turned, the woman in the headscarf was standing directly before him. This close, he could see how the cancer had sunken her eyes and jaundiced her flesh, robbing her of life even though her heart still beat. The pores in her flesh looked overlarge, like strawberry seeds, and her thin lipless mouth appeared as nothing more than a scalpel’s hasty incision in the taut putty of her face.”

If I had one small criticism I would simply say that I prefer the authors longer novels and in particular Floating Staircase and Cradle Lake. They both explore similar themes in greater depth thus allowing the author more time to develop his characters which makes for a greater reader experience and a deeper understanding of his anguished but beautiful prose.