Title: The Watcher by the Threshold (Chilling Horror Short Stories)
Author: John Buchan
Genre: Short Story, Horror, Gothic
Pages: 12 (36-47)
I have to say that I was a little disappointed with The Watcher by the Threshold. It was really hard for me to get into the story and I never really did. It didn’t help that there’s what I assume to be a typo in the first sentence, which claimed the story was set in the year 189. At first, I thought nothing of it but then how the author started describing the scenery, the architecture, clothing, etc. didn’t really fit with the timeline. I kept pausing, stepping away from the story, to try and make sense of what was going on, and it wasn’t until the mention of a watch that I decided that the story was set in the late 1800s. I’ve tried finding info on the short story, but have found absolutely nothing to help me, so by the time I figured out the setting a lot of my interest in the story was lost.
I also kept being pulled from the story because of its length. The Watcher by the Threshold is told through the first person perspective of a lawyer character, and he goes through passages of long-winded descriptions, thoughts, and opinions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a lover of long-winded fantasies and the like, but when it’s a short story about a character we know next to nothing about I find the long thoughtful passages to be quite tedious to read. In fact, there may have been a few times in which I dosed off while reading this short story.
As much as I like older stories, this one just really wasn’t for me. While the writing was beautiful, it was often tedious to read and follow. It also didn’t help that I didn’t really care for the voice of the main character, so his constant internal complaints about his surroundings just grated on my nerves. The long passages made for a slow pace that really didn’t change in speed, and the ending fell short of any impressionable impact. The Watcher by the Threshold wasn’t very scary, I was curious as to what was wrong with one of the characters, but it was never really made clear. The story was slightly disturbing, but the feeling didn’t last long. I’m sure there are classic literature buffs that would love this story, but I was not a fan.