April 2, 2022

Book Review


reviewed by Cara DiCostanzo



“There was no door now, no walls, no sky, no ground. No feet, no legs, no arms, no hands. Only the voices, rushing through the branches of hidden trees.”
Peter Rock, Passersthrough

Sad Clown Lake is a place you can only find by getting lost. This is only a place you can find by getting lost. The lake will call people to it, but it is never in the same physical location. The passersthrough are described as people caught between places, between some place and some place else. As with most of this brilliant novel, the description is ethereal, atmospheric, and somewhat confusing. I have nothing to compare it to. There are parts of it that remind me of The Exorcist and there are parts of it that remind me of more mythological stories, such as Lore. The mythos part of the story starts gradually until it makes sense to the reader.

Benjamin, an older gentleman, seeks to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Helen, after 25 years. Helen disappeared on a camping trip with her father when she was just 11 years old. Gone for a week, she appears at a farmhouse deep in the country where the young couple living there take care of her, though she can’t walk and crab crawls through the house, eating everything in sight. This being said, the cast of characters are misfits, individually and with each other, which definitely adds a strange element to the book. Melissa, a young homeless woman, meets Benjamin when he gets bit by her rabid pit bull, Johnson, in a parking lot. She takes care of him and steals from his house, but reappears to help him solve the mystery of what happened to his daughter. Cisco, her younger cohort, squats with her in the hell house, a house where two young teens were murdered several years ago. Melissa, Cisco, Benjamin, and even Johnson. Helen, his daughter, is only available to talk to him through facsimiles and occasionally, a phone call. Though we never quite understand why Melissa is motivated to help Benjamin, and sometimes steals from his house and takes his car without asking, she is also endearing and gentle with him. 

Passersthrough was brilliant and magical, though it is a thinking book. One must make connections in their own mind because the meaning of this book will be different for each individual reader. It is at once about love, time passing, good and evil. One of the most unusual books I have read this year, and I really enjoyed it. 

Passersthrough is available at:


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