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Plot summary[ edit ] The novel consists of fifty chapters grouped into five sections of ten chapters each, named as follows: Hell[ edit ] year-old Ignatius "Ig" Perrish wakes up one morning after a drunken night in the woods containing an old foundry , near where his girlfriend's corpse was discovered to find that he has sprouted bony, sensitive horns from his temples. Ig is the second son of a renowned musician and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Terry Perrish. Ig had position and security within his hometown of Gideon, New Hampshire, but the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Merrin Williams, changed all that. Despite his innocence, and although he was neither charged nor tried, Ig is largely considered guilty in public opinion. As Ig leaves the apartment he shares with his friend with benefits , Glenna Nicholson, he notices that she is strangely honest with him about her desire to binge, her feelings about his unwanted presence, and the fact that she performed oral sex on a mutual high school friend of theirs, Lee Tourneau, the previous night. As Ig goes to a medical clinic to deal with the growth of his horns, he discovers that people have a sudden compulsion to blatantly express their ugliest and most animalistic urges, desires, and opinions to him, and that no one neither those whom he already knows nor those he meets for the first time seems surprised to see the horns. Moreover, when he makes skin-to-skin contact with individuals, he immediately learns their identities and some of their darkest secrets.
The truth some people suddenly embrace in front of his horns is always the result of some kind of trauma and we all know PTSS or PTSD can lead people to extreme actions and extreme declarations, though here Joe Hill avoids Tourette syndrome and the repetition of piled up four-letter words into fiery compositions. Cancer and fire bring them both together finally. Two, Lee and his sidekick Eric, will die killed by each other while both are trying to kill Ig, so they actually kill each other by accident because their real target Ig is too mobile, too resilient and though he is just in front of the door that cast no shadow, the gate to beyond there, he manages to destroy these two arch- sociopaths.
Is mourning a good motivation for a sentimental relationship? Personally, I do not know.
But human nature is so resilient that I believe anything is possible, at least for a while. The last remark is about the religious context of this novel. And we all know, thanks to the TV series Supernatural that Lucifer is an angel of light that has been cast down, where Satan is his antagon, a cast-down angel of darkness. But the best part is the sermon from the Foundry fireplace to the serpents.
It is beautiful and it reflects that Ig — who is the hero in this book — reveals an evolution in the USA about religion, I mean the dogmatic Christian religion that is fundamentalistic at times, and Lee Tourneau is such a Christian fundamentalist depicted as a twisted tortured and vicious pervert. I do not claim that God is dead.
I tell you He is alive and well but in no position to offer salvation, being damned Himself for His criminal indifference. Whereas the devil is anything but indifferent. My foot! At the same time, he broadened their diet and introduced them to their own sexuality. Sounds kind of like a cross between Animal Man and Dr. Phil to me. Note no girl in that offspring.
I guess the two original playthings of God were not that well programmed for procreation and descent. You might think it is the fact that the director is French, but you will be wrong, though the French have always liked snakes and the film, like the book, is full of snakes. The general frame of the story is not changed in the film though some details are, probably to make the film more credible for the rational mind of a French director.
But this rationalization of some elements does not make the film deeper or scarier or even more dramatic. Horror is not logical or rational. It is basically irrational and it is only dictated — and dictated is the only word that fits horror — by some unconscious connections the darkest side of our human minds establishes between things that normally have no connections at all.
Thus to make Iggy into a summary of the mythical history of Satan, in fact here Lucifer first and then Satan, the white angel with vast white wings that is cast down burning more than hot, definitely to a crisp like Lucifer was cast down from heaven and his shifting into Satan, a dark burning piece of coal, is too rational to be believable. Under the influence of the horns' power, Terry confesses that he knows who killed Merrin: Ig's childhood best friend, Lee Tourneau.
Ig, in an episode of diabolic passion, releases the brake on his grandmother's wheelchair, and she goes rushing down a slope at a precarious speed. Cherry[ edit ] The high school past of Ig and Terry Perrish, Merrin Williams, and Lee Tourneau is explored, with the cherry as a common motif , referring to Merrin's red hair, the loss of virginity , and the characters' involvement with cherry bombs.
Ig agrees to a bet: if he rides a shopping cart naked down a perilous trail in the woods by the Knowles River, he will receive a cherry bomb. Although he breaks his nose and briefly loses consciousness when he crashes into the river, Ig survives, believing that Lee Tourneau pulled him out of the water and resuscitated him. Ig and Lee immediately become friends, though Ig is pestered by the uncomfortable feeling of owing Lee a debt. In church, Ig becomes infatuated with a red-headed girl who has been flirtatiously reflecting light off her cross necklace into his eyes.
When the necklace breaks and, unnoticed by her, falls down, Ig collects it and decides to impress her by fixing it. But when Lee expresses an interest in her and shows him how to fix the necklace, Ig lets him have it instead. Later, Ig trades his cherry bomb with Lee in order to get back the cross. With this, Ig greets Merrin and the two soon become de facto girlfriend and boyfriend.
Lee detonates the cherry bomb and damages his eye, which becomes milky and has impaired vision, though his other eye is unimpaired. Lee is also revealed to be a juvenile delinquent, having stolen and sold various items, perhaps as a way of venting his seemingly groundless hatred of his mother. Ig feels not only that he may be responsible for Lee's accident, but that Merrin should not go to the hospital with him to visit Lee, because Ig thinks it would be tantamount to gloating in Lee's face having won the girl over Lee.
The Fire Sermon[ edit ] The night of Merrin's murder is partially revealed; specifically, the drunken argument between her and Ig in a restaurant the last time they see each other.
Merrin explains that Ig, who is about to go to England for six months for his job, should openly pursue other women while there, in order to gain some more romantic experience Merrin being his only romance ever. Ig is infuriated, thinking correctly that she wishes to permanently end their relationship and suspecting she may have been cheating on him.
He drives away from the restaurant, leaving her in the rain. Later, at the airport, he is about to board the plane when he is suddenly surrounded by police officers. Meanwhile, in the present day, Ig goes to the congressman's office where Lee works and tells Lee he knows that Lee killed Merrin, but for some reason, he is unable to manipulate Lee with the horns.
He also cannot attack Lee because of the congressman's security team, which includes Eric Hannity, another high school acquaintance. Ig drives back to the woods and the foundry and notices that snakes have started congregating around him. He listens to voice mails left by his friends and family on his cell phone and realizes that they think he is missing, having apparently not remembered just seeing him while under the mysterious influence of his horns.
He drives back to his and Glenna's apartment where he is attacked by Eric, just narrowly escaping. Returning to his parents' home, Ig touches a sleeping Terry's wrist and suddenly sees, from Terry's perspective, the events of the night of Merrin's murder: Terry is riding in Lee's car when they pick up Merrin, but is drunk and high and passes out while the actual murder takes place; later, Lee convinces Terry to keep quiet and five months later, a guilt-ridden Terry unsuccessfully attempts suicide.
Although Terry begins to wake up, Ig discovers another power of his—he can perfectly mimic other voices— and convinces Terry that he is their mother, in the dark room, before departing. Ig returns to the foundry where he finds an affinity with fire and wine and delivers a speech to the snakes. He asserts that the devil and women have always caused fear in God, with women being the more powerful because they, like God, have the power of creation. He argues that when Merrin decided to break away from him to pursue her own ends, God detested her and refused to come to her aid while she was being raped and murdered, all because He feared a "woman's power to choose who and how to love, to redefine love as she sees fit.
Ig had it all, and? But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away.
Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters.
Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside. Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look?
Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge. It's time the devil had his due.