A Reading from The Night Ocean
Paul La Farge’s The Night Ocean follows the lives of some extraordinary people: H.P. Lovecraft, the most influential American horror writer of the twentieth century; Robert Barlow, a seminal scholar of Mexican culture who killed himself after being blackmailed for his homosexuality; his student, future Beat writer William S. Burroughs; and L.C. Spinks, a kindly Canadian appliance salesman and science-fiction fan. In La Farge’s novel, psychiatrist Marina Willett’s husband, Charlie, has gone missing after becoming obsessed with Lovecraft and a crucial episode in the writer’s life: the summer of 1934, when he lived for two months in central Florida with a teenaged Barlow. In the search for the truth, Willett follows her husband’s path as the novel moves across the decades and along the length of the continent, from a remote Ontario town, through New York and Florida to Mexico City.