All Hallows’ Eve by Charles Williams
Charles Williams was one of the less known members of the literature club “The Inklings”, represented by such world-famous writers as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. He didn’t manage to achieve the same level of fame, but for a limited audience his 7 novels represent a much greater treasure than even The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.
At a glance, the plot of All Hallows Eve resembles either a horror novel or a mystical thriller of sorts: a woman that dies in the opening scene and continues to wander the spiritual replica of London as a ghost, the apocalyptic figure of Simon LeClerk, the leader of a seemingly harmless sect who in fact is undoubtedly the Antichrist, two paintings that carry in themselves some connection with the spiritual world and change in the course of time… But a closer look eliminates this impression, showing that it is in fact a religiously philosophical novel that features very bizarre backgrounds simply for the sake of making a point in a more demonstrative manner.
Action is scarce; most of the text is devoted to the reflections, feelings, impressions of the main characters on undergoing various mystical experiences. There is no battle against the Antichrist in the manner of Hollywood movies and no superhuman powers of evil – in fact, Simon LeClerk uses some forbidden arts at several points, but his methods do not resemble what is generally understood as magic in the slightest.
All in all, All Hallows’ Eve is a brilliant, yet undeservedly forgotten masterpiece. Being much deeper than…