Page 45 Review by Stephen
I tried to do it. I tried to seem confident even when I wasnt. I wanted so much for us to be together.
Doomed! Doomed, I tell you!
At first glance this looks like something a little different from Mr. Sala. It must be the lush, sepia washes softening the lines. Oh, wait, I missed the blood-splattered endsheets. As you were, then!
A young, comfortably dressed man with a small mouth and a ski-slope nose arrives in a remote, contemporary township in search of a girl from college who returned home (she said) to look after an ailing father (she said). She hasnt been heard from since.
Armed only with an address and the faint hope of a vaguely suggested future, our nameless naïf tries to present a cheerful countenance even after the population starts looking a little local: a silhouette on a rooftop, strange processions and a man selling apples under an awning. They dont look very fresh, and neither does he. In fact, he looks rather ripe. Undaunted (no, he is daunted still, brave face, eh?), he finally finds a wig shop which is when he mentions Delphine by name.
And the dog goes fucking mental.
After that our luckless victim is given one big run-around by the crone behind the counter, the nephew she sends to divert him, the mother they pick up and then another grubby old geezer who, following an enigmatic funeral during which he is effectively silenced, drives him even further into the wilderness and round the bend to be beaten up by old biddies. Thats just the first couple of hours of what will prove the longest day and night of that young mans life with the most unnerving hospitality in the world. The terrible thing is, you just know the increasingly desperate and freaked out suitor found the right address immediately, and has been led further and further from his goal ever since.
Truly this is the stuff of nightmares: a frantic evocation of being lost, misled and out of your depth in surroundings which barely make sense except when they do after which you dearly wish that they hadnt. Its also a great big clip round the ear to anyone who still fails to follow the old BBC information broadcasts which warned you never to accept sweets from strangers, lifts in their cars, or bedroom and board from aging vamps with potentially infectious skin diseases.
This is hell. Im in hell.