Monday, January 25, 2010

Page 46, Paragraph 4 - 7; Page 47 (Entire); Notes ***SPOILER ALERT!***

***SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the end of "Hob's Hog" yet, you probably won't want to read this post, as the ending of the chapter is revealed here. Don't say I didn't warn you.***

Page 46, Paragraph 4:

The girl stands up and takes the clothes off her breasts. The clothing is thick, but her breasts are now really small. White there in the light of the fire, it's like there not breasts at all. The rat-noise becomes a hissing now, and it's warm beneath me and in the hill of branches. There's a lot of smoke rising from it.

Paragraph 5:

The warmth becomes hot on the backs of my legs, and the heat becomes pain - wherever I move my legs, it's hot. I now smell hair burning; it's my clothes; I try to make a noise, to cry out in pain, but my voice has become thick and wet. There's blood on my mouth. There's blood on my chin.

Paragraph 6:

I don't want to be burned to death like this. It's not right. It's more pain than I can take. There's fire on my back, fire beneath my head, and little bright sparks rising all around between all of us and the dark sky. I can't breathe. It's so hot that the girl takes off the rest of her clothes. She's naked. In between her legs is...

Paragraph 7:

She puts her hand to her head, where the frightening tear of skin is, below her hair, and puts her finger to the edge of the skin, where she now pulls and...

Page 47, Paragraph 1:

There's smoke and blood in my mouth. Bright hair falls in the dark, with a scalp falling next to it. Her dick, bigger than mine, that I couldn't smell because of the flowers. I don't have the breath to make another sound. The girl's changed to a boy, as the rat became stones and the pig became logs. It's this change that's in things. It's this frightening change that makes the whole world wrong. Smoke rises and falls like a grey river around me, and the pain becomes as big as the sky. I can't breathe, and my vision darkens.

Paragraph 2:

In the darkness there are many strange things - many little visions hanging in the smoke. I see fiery-haired men that can make fire run like blood from stones. I see a place where human skin falls black from the sky. I see a path that runs from sea to sea, where lights now go back and forth, faster and more numerous than the fish. I see a building like a skull, big, and black, and made of [?] fire. In its mouth sits a man with fire coming out of his hair, filled with pain. Now I see women held to a log, with fire all around their feet. We look at one another from our fires. There's no pain now. Only smoke.*

Paragraph 3:

Behind the smoke I now see dogs with eyes as big as tree-stumps. Now I lift my hand, to hit them away from me, and my hand is on fire. The skin is rising up in blisters and hissing; it's all black underneath. Through the smoke I see Hob. The boy sits by him, the firelight on his short-cropped dark hair. Hob is finding little circles of flattened grey earth, and he has a stick in his hand to mark them. It's not good to make marks.

Paragraph 4:

My hair's on fire, and it comes this way into my head, and into my belly, so that a thought comes into me with the fire. It's not a thought of mine, but a thought of the fire's, full of strange words that no tongue can make. Phror. Becadom, sissirishic and huwf. Hob sits closer to me, to hear. He makes a mark in the grey of the earth with his stick, and now another, across it.**

Paragraph 5:

I open my mouth, to make a noise in my pain, and the voice of the fire comes through me, and rises, and rises, with sparks of light, beneath the old black sky.

*If you haven't read the rest of the novel yet, you're going to want to remember this paragraph.

**Or "across from it"


  1. "Phror. Becadom. Sissirishic and huwf."

    When i got to that part the first time, it hit me really hard. Not just the fact that he was burning, but because he has an animistic view of things and before he was hearing noises that sound like water or rats, and now he's into some truly weird stuff.

    Then he opened his mouth and the voice of the fire came out and I knew I wasn't going to be able to put the book down until I finished the rest of the stories and figured out who or what it was he saw in the smoke.

    If I recall correctly, this started out as an experiment to get you through the chapter, but it looked to me like you picked up a lot of momentum as you went along, that it wasn't fighting you so much. How do you feel about it? Success?

    Thanks for putting this up, it's been a pleasure reading along with you.

  2. Hey, Benny! How are you?

    "When i got to that part the first time, it really hit me hard."

    I think the last couple of paragraphs (not unusually for Moore) work well on a few different levels. First of all, there's the situation. I mean, can any of us imagine anything worse than burning to death? Then there's the phrase that you quote at the top of your comment. There's something so ineffably ALIEN about those words - it reminded me of that point in "The Call of Cthulhu" (here I go on Lovecraft again) when you first read the phrase “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” - it sends a chill up and down your spine.

    I think what finally makes the ending so effective is the suggestion of an actively malignant force running the universe, something that is perhaps held at bay most of the time but can't help but eventually break through into our everyday lives. This goes beyond cosmic horror and nihilism into something that is almost uniquely terrifying - Thomas Ligotti is the only author I can think of that achieves similiar effects in his work.

    "How do you feel about it? Success?"

    I feel great - it was totally worth the effort. You're right about me picking up momentum. It reminded me a lot of reading A CLOCKWORK ORANGE - when I first picked it up, I was like, "How the hell am I gonna get through this?", but as I went along, it became easier & easier. (Also, the rest of VOICE OF THE FIRE was plain sailing once I got through "Hob's Hog".)

    "Thanks for putting this up, it's been a pleasure reading along with you."

    The pleasure has been mine, my friend. Drop me an email in a month or two if you think of it (there's a link to my address on my Blogger profile page).

  3. I just realized why the woman under the bridge had no hair...