Laird Barron’s PARALLAX – an analysis

So, the protagonist was a successful sculptor\painter, who struck rich and famous after some Templar Order commissioned an ‘Achilles’ statue from him (which he later vandalized, out of spite? repentance?). There was a circle of them, a certain Kern person who did most artistic work and lost his good looks after being seriously maimed in a bar brawl. Miranda, also an artist who had a strange preoccupation with dead things, making sculptures out of them.

Someone had been leaving a trail of people gone missing, and the story is interspersed with that mystery man’s confessions of the vile deeds, forward in 2013, when he is an inmate in a closed institution. Is he the very same Kern character? But Carson, our protagonist, seems to half-consciously associate himself with those vile deeds. Carson poses for Kern’s artistry, but must also carry the guilt for his shadowy deeds?

There was obviously some dabbling in arcane magics, we have numerous hints on that. Then there’s the Glitter Moon, the Cloud Room that Miranda and Carson dance to, when they get married.

The whole disappearance thing seems to be a retribution for (unsuccessfully?) dabbling with the occult. Was the art that the group created so occult that it had to be backed with some sacrificial practices, and that is exactly ‘the works’ that Kern was ‘sweating’?

Carson dies in a hospital, having been in a car accident, after losing his mind to delirium where the false identity (Kern) was catching up with him. Kern lives to tell the tale.

This novella is about splitting of responsibility and identity. The responsibilities were split in order to create a dark art, but eventually the people got split as well, as a manner of retribution. The Parallax, as a black hole which you pass and emerge at the other end, changed in the way you perceive things.