Find this weird, magical, deeply strange book I read as a child!
April 7, 2020 8:11 AM   Subscribe

For ages, I've been semi-haunted by trying to remember what book I (sort of) read. Details of what I remember below, but it was a very odd book, about a woman who had an (evil? chaotic?) creature living in her garden. The book was full of deep descriptions of sunlight and the garden and this woman's fear of the creature.

Things I definitely remember about it:
- It would have been published before 1996, and probably before 1990, as I remember being fairly small when I read it. I doubt it was published before the 1960's, though.
- The protagonist was a woman, and there was a small house in her garden, and a Caliban-like creature lived in it, waiting to visit doom on her.
- She was deeply afraid of the creature, which 'spoke' in italics.
- The book was written in a dreamy style, with really in-depth descriptions of the garden, the creature, and the woman's fear.
- It wasn't by an author I recognized, and had a fairly cheap binding.

Things I probably remember correctly:
- The protagonist was older and African-American. (This also describes my babysitter who probably gave the book to me, so I might have sort of accidentally made that comparison. If you recognize the book except for this bit, honestly, you probably recognize the book...)
- The creature in the garden maybe had a flies motif/was Beelzebub-like?
- The book was almost certainly written for adults. I don't remember ever finishing it, and I was, um, not a sophisticated reader as a child, and was kind of bored by it.
- Everything felt very distant; it was a very poetic novel, and although we sort of knew the inner workings of the protagonist, it still felt distant and hazy.

I know this isn't a ton to go on, especially since I suspect it was a pretty obscure book, but I'm hoping this pings someone's radar!
posted by kalimac to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Parts of this are very The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. The protagonist is an outsider but pale. Poetic and hazy.
posted by clew at 8:49 AM on April 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

This sounds like "A Little Fear" by Patricia Wrightson

Other details:
Set in Australia
She's got a dog named Hector
The evil spirit is called the Njinbim

Published in 1983
Various cover images:
posted by cosmicbandito at 10:06 AM on April 8, 2020

Response by poster: I'm 90% sure cosmicbandito has it! One of those covers looks very close to what I remember, and the title and author are pinging stuff in the back of my brain. I'll order a copy soon and report back, but I really think that's it. (Thank you so much! This has been poking at my brain off and on for years now!)

(It's definitely not The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, but honestly that looks great and I expect I'll read it as well, thank you clew!)
posted by kalimac at 4:32 PM on April 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

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