The Haar (Sentimental Amorphous Beast Horror)


I’ve been trying to get more into horror with a bit more feeling behind it. Whilst I enjoy the relentless gore that many of the books I read offer, sometimes they lack any sort of real story or emotion, other than just people’s guts being forcibly ripped out. The Haar is a story about Muriel, and the small fishing village she has lived in and loved her whole life. She loved there, she lost there, she had her lovely family there, as did the other villagers. When billionaire Patrick Grant and his company bulldozed their way through it, both physically and psychologically, railroading the people and paying them off until the numbers dwindle, Muriel is one of the last ones standing. That is until she finds a…thing, a gelatinous orb with a singular eye. It needs water, and food. And not just a bowl of cereal and a cooked dinner. I loved the location this book was set in, there’s a slight general Scottish dialect and the description of the village Witchaven with its surrounding areas of the beach are picturesque. As the book progresses, there’s the sad description of big earth movers and trucks, as well as general construction sites and this added to this sentimentality. I enjoyed the build up before the introduction of the creature, including character building, especially of Muriel, and her comfortability with being alone, as well as tales from her past which add to the progression of the plot.


“The thing was almost there, so he shoved his remaining hand in and pulled it out. It lit first time, but when the enormous white eye opened and stared right at him, Tommy dropped the lighter in terror. He screamed again, and then his voice abandoned him as cold slime squirmed up his arsehole. He clenched his cheeks and reached his hand into the back of his trousers, grabbing the membranous cord with a tight fist and yanking hard on it. It was attached to something. Something inside him. He tugged harder, feeling the pressure on his guts, until— with one final, Herculean pull— his bowels tore wide open, releasing a flood of warm shit that spurted from between his clenched cheeks. As Tommy’s internal organs started to liquify, he emitted a thin, high- pitched whine. Through the translucent skin of the creature, he could see his penis crumbling to pieces and drifting through the murky body of the thing that clung to him, destroying him, killing him.”


The sea creature “Avalon” was mysterious and extremely hard to describe, featuring shapeshifting in a form I’ve never seen before. In my mind, I saw Avalon almost like a jellyfish, but with no tentacles. The ability to basically consume people in the way he did felt very unique. This came with gory details not unheard of from other books by David Sodergren, and I honestly really loved that it wasn’t heavily laden in this way. Towards the end, it was frequent, but never overbearing. It always stayed just enough to be horrid to envision, but not enough to completely consume the story. The shapeshifting of Avalon, turns him into Muriel’s missing, assumed dead husband Billy, and this addition to the story does go back to her comfortability of being alone. She comes to life again, in a way, and it was lovely to read. I saw The Haar described on Goodreads as “sentimental horror” and I would 100% agree with this. A wonderful and thought provoking read that not only hit the gore mark (to a perfect amount for this book), but also hit the world building and immersive story mark. I would love to read more books that had this much of a perfect balance.


David Sodergren Official Instagram

Written by Arianne, Sovereign Deity of the Damned

The Haar (2022)
David Sodergren
Paperbacks and Pugs
5 / 5