The Other: Plausible horrors

In The Other, Thomas Tryon does something few horror stories do: He makes the horrific plausible enough to happen.

Boy's head set within the O of The Other on an otherwise empty front cover suggests secrets.
Peek through the key hole into The Other.

The story is set in the 1930s in a small Connecticut town where everybody knows everybody else’s business.

The narrative is buttressed by monologues by an unnamed person who recalls various bits of history from Pequot Landing, Conn. The person is confined in an upper floor room in some unnamed institution.

The Perry twins, Niles and Holland, are close, not just because of their twinship, but because their father died in an accident the previous fall, their mother is emotionally fragile and drinks, and their household is run by the boy’s maternal grandmother, Ada.

The boys are temperamental opposites: Holland is easily angered and sadistic; Niles is gentle and loving, with an uncanny ability to think himself into the role of animals.

Tryon lays the story out as a mystery, with plenty of clues for the alert reader.

The novel gets its impact from the fact that the novel’s characters have the same clues available and fail to recognize their significance, just as the California neighbors of David and Louise Turpin failed to put their clues together.

The Other by Thomas Tryon
Knopf, 1971, 280 p.
1971 bestseller #9  My grade: B+

©2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni