While Arthur Machen's mastery of dark and bizarre themes has been more than amply demonstrated to countless readers-and enthusiasts-in such well-known works of horror as The Great God Pan, his forays into more ecstatic and mystical realms remain woefully neglected. In this charming, if utterly perplexing novella, Machen begins his story in the anxious, dark, despairing streets of 1915 London, then in short order leads the reader to a transfigured world in western Wales, where a small village has recently been visited by three ancient saints bearing the Holy Grail. This event has wrought, in both the countryside and the souls inhabiting it, a wondrous reawakening. In keeping with Machen's idiosyncratic writing style, The Great Return offers little in the way of concrete detail. Rather, it ever so slightly lifts a curtain, and in so doing grants us a startling glimpse of man's encounter with the divine.