Review

HEX|| Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Black Spring has an awful secret and  they have kept it for decades. An ugly witch from the 17thcentury  whose eyes and mouth have been sewn shut renderes the townsfolk haunted and Black Spring inescapable by those born there and those who later settle there.

It’s in the unraveling of the witch’s story that Black Spring’s citizens are revealed for who they are and how much in common each of us has with the ugly Black-Rock witch.

It’s as though the constact juxtaposition between the witch and the town’s inhabitants is a literal reflection of how we as society treat ‘the other’ in our midst.

Hex follows the story of Katherine van Wyler (the witch), parallel to the lives of some of the townsfolk especially Steve Grant and his family: two sons and a wife. Katherine is a symbol of death, she carries it in her being and entices the young and old who get close enough to hear her whispers to desire it. Heuvelt weaves a tale about how inescapable death is, and how once it has touched you it’s hard to shake off.

Hex, a horror , exposes the horrid state of the human heart, the fickle nature of bonds, the extent of curiosity and pride and the abundant need of validation. In this book the most horrific of human traits are paraded to a disgustingly unapologetic extent, some more blatantly than others.

Heuvelt however could have tried a little harder with the horror by making the witch’s appearance and backstory more gruesome. This could have added more depth to the tale. In the end it seemed like a tale about how one father’s bad advice ruined his son and an entire town. Which unfortunately takes away from the deeper message here, which is a call for introspection as well as a question regarding the things we let live and die around and within us.

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