Blue Light of the Screen is about what it means to be afraid — about immersion, superstition, delusion, and the things that keep us up at night.
A creative-critical memoir of the author’s obsession with the horror genre, Blue Light of the Screen embeds its criticism of horror within a larger personal story of growing up in a devoutly Catholic family, overcoming suicidal depression, uncovering intergenerational trauma, and encountering real and imagined ghosts.
As Cronin writes, she positions herself as a protagonist who is haunted by what she watches and reads, like an antiquarian in an M.R. James ghost story whose sense of reality unravels through her study of arcane texts and cursed archives. In this way, Blue Light of the Screen tells the story of the author’s conversion from skepticism to faith in the supernatural.
Part memoir, part ghost story, and part critical theory, Blue Light of the Screen is not just a book about horror, but a work of horror itself.
"Part memoir, part philosophical rumination, Blue Light of the Screen is a love letter to the darkness inside and out…and the flicking light of the screens around which we cluster, seeking not warmth but truth."
“An original, compelling and genuinely unclassifiable book that is by turns insightful, moving and disturbing — as well as an informative introduction to cinematic horror.”
“Blue Light of the Screen is a different kind of book. Cronin allows not just one voice to speak, but a legion of voices: critical but confessional, filled with dread and then a strange euphoria, marred by faith yet undermined by reason... This is critical theory as demonic possession.”
“Equal parts memoir, genre study, and family melodrama, Cronin’s book suggests that the ghost isn’t out there in the world to be found so much as an internal force to be confronted, a composite of memory and metaphysics that issues from the borderlands of trauma, melancholy, faith, and (media) fictions unique to every haunted individual.”
“A striking memoir of a demon-haunted life... Cronin elegantly articulates the way horror (from the art house to the grindhouse) is often the most personal genre, leaving its viewers with powerful metaphors to decode the sometimes even more terrifying world on the other side of the screen.”
“A dreamlike, at times hallucinatory journey through memory and nightmare. Cronin's fragmentary approach takes a litany of horror movies as grist to explore deeper questions of uncanny belief. A strange and thoroughly enjoyable read.”