Within This Garden Weeping reads like a book of the Old Testament by way of Ray Bradbury and Twin Peaks.
Part of Lee Thompson’s Division Mythos, the novella picks up two years after the conclusion of Before Leonora Wakes. Red Piccirilli fears that something strange is about to begin again after he and his mother are visited by the mysterious Ash. Soon he is taken into a world where nothing is as it seems, time has little meaning, and he learns he possesses frightening powers. On his quest he meets a variety of bizarre characters and battles the evil Wind with a Thousand Eyes.
Within This Garden Weeping is filled with cosmic violence, but never stops being beautiful. The language is poetic and evocative, prose you can feel as you read and not a word is wasted. Thompson’s craft is best on display when he explores his lead character’s inner workings. Red is in that awkward stage between childhood and adulthood. He wants people around him to take him seriously and treat him as a grown-up, but the adults in his life rarely do. It’s only in this alternate world where his powers are recognized.
Where Before Leonora Wakes was a coming of age story, this tale recognizes that growing up is too large a feat to take place over the course of one event, no matter how dramatic that event may be. Continuing Red’s journey in Within This Garden Weeping allowed for opportunities to further explore his transition from a child to someone with great power. An overwhelming sadness lingers over each set-piece and makes Red’s struggles much larger, likely to resonate long after the story’s end.
Thompson’s mythology is nearly biblical, his characters achingly real, and the story never stops moving. I’d recommend this book to fans of horror or dark fantasy who also like to be challenged by a story’s themes.