Some of the many reviews
This Gothic curiosity wriggles vividly in your mind's eye, unleashing a memorable torrent of eccentric characters on your senses. It begins with the protagonist's mother being released from psychiatric care after cunningly controlling her behaviour when the medical staff are present, and she is completely unaware that her husband's career and finances have taken a disasterous turn. The solution comes from her father, into whose manor they move, and a curious ambience develops, which can be pulled awry at any time by her father's (literally) mesmerising pocket watch and his devious skill with it. Theodore Stubb's superior hypnosis technique isn't only a party trick - a trick some guests prefer not to participate in - but it also sets in motion a disturbing chain of events that has unimaginable consequences.
Skilfully written and developed, this is not your average Gothic tale of possession - it is creepy, hilarious, tragic, and surreal in turn, and sometimes any combination of things. Refreshingly unpredictable, it is a throughly enjoyable read.
Mr. R. A. Gregory
Griffin paints with words. I love language and he uses his skills to paint lavish scenes with words. From the Dickensian use of strange family names to sublime descriptions of places and events that conjure up vivid images in the reader's mind, this book is a wonderful journey through the bizarre life of a deviant family. There isn't one redeeming member of the Stubb family and his descriptions of their spiral into true madness is wonderfully presented. A must read.........
"The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb" written by the author of "Two Dogs at the One Dog Inn" is a very unusual read indeed, quirky, bizarre but also intriguing, entertaining and quite addictive!
This gothic tale set in the fictional village of Muchmarsh is so descriptively told, with some wonderfully unique characters all with such imaginative names e.g. Dr Snippet, Mr Nuckle, Colonel Midwitty, Mrs Musty and so on. This intriguing story is quite reminiscent of the works of Charles Dickens and could easily be compared with the classics of that time. I love this time period and feel very comfortable reading books set in this era. I believe the author has done a great job in creating the right atmosphere and authentic dialogue befitting the time.
Admittedly this book may not be to everyone's taste but if you enjoy quirky tales of secrets, murder, mystery and intrigue set in a gothic time period then it's definitely a one for you. Such a refreshing change to the many run of the mill mystery books.
I personally preferred the first half of the book but the second half set thirteen years later focuses on the 'possession' of Alastair and it's here that this rich story fully comes together.
All in all it's a fun read, at times creepy and surreal but highly enjoyable and I would happily recommend this book and the author David John Griffin.
On an extra note the book also has a fabulous design, I spent a long time studying the interesting gloss printed insects on the front cover - it really created the perfect ambience for the story.
Infinite Rooms, by David John Griffin, takes the reader inside the mind of Donald Clement, who is struggling to cope in what most would consider the real world. Through dreams and imaginings Clement travels the rooms of his mind trying to adjust his memories and construct barriers against experiences from his past that have caused him grief. In his head he discusses what he is doing with Dr Leibkov, who advises him that to move forward these barriers must be removed.
The writing is surreal. It is cleverly crafted, offering snippets of memory that enable extrapolation of the events which brought Clement to this juncture. At times I thought that I understood, then this too would become opaque, further layers hinting at an alternative interpretation. There were links but it continued to be unclear who and what was real outside of Clement’s mind.
Clement remembers meeting the beautiful Bernadette, the happiness of their early marriage and then how his jealousy drove them apart. Much of his musing occurs on a train journey when the reader is offered glimpses of how Clement perceives his fellow passengers and how he is seen by others. This disconnect offers puzzle pieces to add to the picture being created of what Clement’s life has been.
At the end I was still questioning what had just been narrated. The lack of lucidity was at times challenging, yet it was a satisfying literary journey.
Much as I wish to read eclectically and be stretched, I suspect that my analytical mind may not be capable of fully appreciating surrealism. What I can recognize and commend is the tension and disturbance created in the reader by putting them inside such a disturbed mind. Clement’s psychosis is brilliantly evoked. This is an extraordinary read.
An extraordinary novel. The quality of the writing, as well as the author's imaginative prowess, is immediately apparent. As another reviewer has written, this is a challenging read – this book will disturb you, quite probably frustrate you at times, and astound you with its imagery and dexterity with language. Is the central character, Donald Clement, undergoing psychosis, some florid schizophrenic state? Do the ‘mind rooms’ he manifests represent his salvation or his doom? Is his paramour, Bernadette, real or some imaginary and idealised version of womanhood (who then gradually corrodes to her antithesis); who exactly is Dr Leibkov? Has a crime been committed as the result of adultery, or was the adultery itself the crime which has set Donald’s mind askew, broken his soul? You’ve got to read it to find out – albeit the novel discourages a single definitive interpretation – I imagine there will be numerous ‘readings’ of this text.
Infinite Rooms contains some incredibly impressive and memorable set-pieces of descriptive writing. A dark, somewhat bitter humour pervades a narrative studded with moments of deep pathos. I found the ending strangely moving – both a release and a kind of despair. I’ve never read a novel quite like this, or had such an intense reading experience – at times, similar to taking mushrooms or being sleep deprived. To paraphrase R.D. Laing’s contention, a person’s apparent ‘madness’ or ‘psychotic’ behaviour can often be seen as explicable, and even oddly rational, when one understands their social and emotional world, their external and internal history – David John Griffin has given us, in Donald Clement, a compelling and emotionally-layered character who exemplifies Laing’s view.
I started "Two Dogs at the One Dog Inn" written by David John Griffin late one night just to read the first couple chapters, however before i realised it, I had read the first 50 pages and didn't want to put it down. Oh my! - does this author have a incredibly vivid imagination! This book is a very quirky collection of magical paranormal short stories with 13 different tales that are all fascinating strange and interesting. The first one is an entertaining novella of the title name of the book and is the longest story. What a really original and unique way to tell the tale and I found it really worked for me! Intriguing and ingenious it is written as emails between two women who aren't happy with how they left things when they were last together at work. I was genuinely hooked by this haunting tale. The other stories are nice quick reads, very imaginatively written and very entertaining. Almost like a modern 'Tales of the Unexpected' - a TV series from many years ago.
My personal favourite was probably the main story, I really enjoyed how it was written and the telling of the tale through copied journal entries.
I'd happily recommend this book, it's a great read, written really well and the imagination by the author is just unbelievable - this beautifully printed book published by "Urbane Publications" should not be overlooked!!
I like different stories or should I say stories that are different, the impossible or improbable, that spikes the mind that you can’t second guess, it just makes sense when you read it and this novel covers all that. This book is made up of the story which is sort of the main event with an additional 12 stories that are quick reads in their own right, some macabre others with a meaning to take heed of. When I was reading this novella I could sort of imagine sitting around a camp fire while taking it in turn to tell stories while everyone listens until it is their turn to top it.
The first story, from where the title originates, is told via emails between a volunteer animal welfare and rescue worker Audrey and her friend and boss at the centre Stella, after a very distressing phone call has already occurred ending with Audrey resigning. An unusual way to tell a story but it works very well. Stella gradually coaxes what has happened at the One Dog Inn, which is a fascinating and disturbing tale. I wasn’t too sure just how much was genuine friendship from Stella’s side though or just the need not to let a volunteer walk away from a position that will be hard to fill. I thought the play on places names worked well, still recognisable but fun. This story is the longest taking about 41% of the novel size.
The 12 remaining stories are of various sizes with each one having it’s own uniqueness. My favourites being the future of mobile phones, which did send quite a shiver as you could imagine technology eventually going this way. Though perhaps not with the same conclusion, I hope. The other being the story of Henry Sims. From stories about being eco friendly to the noise upstairs is just the house settling noise isn’t it kind of story it is a very entertaining novel.
I have read all of Griffin's novels and found then wonderfully complex and full of psychological twists and turns. I bought this book expecting more of the same, but was intrigued from the start in its relative simplicity; can this be Griffin? It was, because the predictions I had for the plot after the first chapter or two were all far to simplistic. Soon the twists became unfathomable and I became obsessed in how the plot would resolve itself.
A simple concept, played out on a multiplex stage, and agreeably entertaining. I read this novel almost in one sitting, rare for me.
An utterly absorbing and entertaining read, expertly executed. Never read time travel before so my poor, aging brain had to keep flipping back to keep track of the clever twisty plot. Totally weird but in a captivating way but then that's what I've come to expect from this author.
I only rated this book 4 stars because I was left wanting more..... but that part of the review is not in chronological order.... so.....
Disclosure: David John Griffin is an old school friend of mine that I lost contact with for over 40 years, when we reconnected I found he was now an author but I want to make clear that I bought this book and this is an honest and impartial review.
Many authors have a distinct style, you can tell a Stephen King novel as soon as you start reading it, same for authors like Dean Koontz, Karin Slaughter, but Griffin seems to be a literary chameleon, changing his style to suit the content. From the complex narrative of "Infinite Rooms" to the period, almost Dickensian, style of "The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb" his style is always appropriate to the genre. With this outing he doesn't disappoint, turning to a light, first person narrative he moves through a subject matter (time travel) that many have failed in due to over complicating their plot lines. Basically he sticks to the story without delving too deeply into the infinitely possible and infinitely confusing possibilities of disturbing the time line. The adventure takes precedence and I was so thankful for that.
This is a good read, not too long (but maybe a little short? I really wanted to know more about what happened at the end) and has a good flow. You will become invested in the characters and if you have ever lived in a certain area of North West Kent you will recognize many of the places in the story (hint.. I once managed the Villewood Halls and "may" have imbibed in the Horatio......).
In summary a good read, that will keep your attention and well worth getting. I look forward to reading more from David John Griffin.