Book #2 for 2016
PopSugar Challenge Category:
– A dystopian novel
Personal Challenge Categories:
– A book in which a character dies
– A book club selection
– A book published in the 21st century
– A book about the end of life as we know it
This is one of the best horror novels I’ve ever read. Not that I’ve read a lot of horror novels, but that’s still high praise. The suspense never let up, and Malerman had some seriously effective creep factor going on the entire time. He also wrote a really impressive female lead character in Malorie. She was strong and smart and driven without being a Mary Sue.
I liked that the story works on a number of levels. In some ways, it is reminiscent of The Road, but (unlike The Road) it doesn’t suck. It draws from Hitchcockesque motifs and the Cthulhu mythos, and it obsesses over the concept and manifestation of fear and how we deal with it. Or don’t, as the case may be. It also examines what happens when fear and madness overlap. I’m not sure yet if I agree with Tom’s theory of allegory, but it bears thinking on. (My guess is that Malerman would flat-out deny it.)
I really should read Flatland one of these days. I wonder if its themes are similar to the symbolism of the bird box and later the entire world as bird box, especially as Malerman introduces the idea of another dimension as the source of the horror.
I was perhaps a little disappointed with the ending of the book, but the more I think about it, the more inclined I am to agree with how Malerman ended the story. I can’t really imagine how else to end it without copping out in one way or another.
I would recommend this to fans of psychological suspense, or to anybody who likes a thought-provoking “end of the world as we know it” tale. It does get a little gory in places, but really, most of the violence takes place off the page. It’s the unrelenting creepiness that terrified me.