Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: Come Closer

Great literary horror is few and far between, so when my friends at Goodreads* started raving about a book called Come Closer, I had to read it.

Sara Gran has written more than a dark fiction about demon possession, she wrote a book about the female psyche, about the impulse of civilized people to do harm to those we love and those we don't know, and she gave her story a shot of the old "turn of the screw" by having a pretty, confident architect inadvertently invite the spirit Naamah from Jewish lore to take over her mind and whittle the world away until there is nothing left but these two.

Amanda lives in Manhattan with her husband, Edward, and theirs is a solid marriage. Trendy restaurants and flea-market weekends make up their complacent existence. But the tapping in the walls of their small apartment follow them to their dream loft, and one day Amanda receives a book she didn't order on how to tell if you're possessed by a demon—complete with quizzes—and she starts wondering about puzzling urges that have overtaken her daily life, such as the urge to steal small items from stores or burn her husband with her cigarette or drown the young daughter of a friend. At night she dreams of lying on a red beach next to a woman with crazy hair and pointy teeth who hugs her so fiercely she can barely breathe. Then come the blackouts and the coming to consciousness in hotel rooms with strange men. She starts scoring higher on the quizzes, but is she really possessed, or is it a case of a woman on a downward spiral into insanity?

I've added Come Closer to my growing list of favorite dark fiction: Crawlspace, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, Naomi's Room, Let's Go Play at the Adams', Don't Look Now, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Her Fearful Symmetry, When Darkness Loves Us, and Harriet Said. I like the way Come Closer and these other books acknowledge and then confront the dark things that nestle deep within all of us.

*Join the Birmingham Public Library on Goodreads to see what's new in books at the library.

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