This is the second time I’ve read this short story, but I didn’t remember much since it was years ago. I knew I loved the story, and this reread reminded me as to why.
Like other stories and books that I love, “The Call of Cthulhu” is told through found files, such as collected writings and interviews. I always love the piecing-together type of storytelling that goes on in these, and Lovecraft utilizes the style to perfectly suit that sense of festering terror.
Each sentence is beautiful to read, and it’s obvious that Lovecraft put very much thought into his diction and sentence structure. Longer sentences with plenty of, though not repetitive, description really fits the subject matter of this story well, in addition to reflecting the overall feeling of the story. The imagery is excellent, and it paints the terror very well through multiple descriptions of landscape and the action that occurs within it.
The thing I loved most about this story was the mythology and background of Cthulhu and the Old Ones themselves, once the narrator began to discover more about them and their associated cult. Not only is it amazing that Lovecraft invented this mythology, but also transcending the usual realm with it, beyond Mount Olympus and Asgard, and farther than most mythologies dare to go, far into the depths of time and space. I am so excited to read more the the Cthulhu mythos to find out more, and I had wished that I had done this earlier (though I had been meaning to for years). At one point, I turned to the next page to find “The Colour Out of Space,” and once it hit me that “The Call of Cthulhu” had ended, I immediately wanted more. After years of being uninspired to paint anything, I now have a head full of ideas for paintings, and I can easily see how the Cthulhu mythos has expanded into such a vast universe of different material in a variety of various media (I am quite excited to get going on these artwork ideas, and I’m so glad to feel the “artist itch” again).
I hadn’t originally planned to write a review on this story, as I was just having a craving to get into some more classic horror again (which I’m sure will lead to more rereads of Dracula, Frankenstein, and the like), but after finishing this short story, I thought, “I need to talk about this somewhere,” and that’s why I love having a book blog and bookstagram. I’m really missing all of the college literature class discussions, so if anyone is looking to buddy-read some classic horror, feel free to send me a message, and, hey, maybe we can start a virtual classic horror book club!
Feel free to add me on my various social media accounts to keep updated on what I’m reading or contact me if you’d be interested if I started a virtual book club: Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
A last thing to add before I wrap this up: I began to reread this story as a means of temporarily escaping reality; I’m waiting to hear about a job that I interviewed for and really, really want, and there’s been so much violence and sadness on the news lately. “The Call of Cthulhu” did give me that fictional escape, but also gave me some nonfictional thoughts on how small all of this actually is. By no means do I have any concrete solutions to what’s going wrong in the world, but I think it could give humankind some humanity to see how small and insignificant we actually are in the vastness of the cosmos. I admire how far Lovecraft goes in philosophical and theological ideas through a horror story, while also reminding the reader that they are just a person on one planet full of humans who are really good at screwing up. If more people kept this in mind, we might begin to see the pointlessness in the hate and violence (or maybe that’s just my hopefulness for the human race as a whole). My endnote here turned out to be much longer than I intended, but it’s difficult to sum these things up while also having so much more that I could say.