Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts. The home's new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters. Together they hope to rebuild their lives there after Chip, an airline pilot, has to ditch his 70-seat regional jet in Lake Champlain due to double engine failure. The body count? Thirty-nine. What follow is a riveting ghost story with all the hallmarks readers have come to expect from bestselling, award-winning novelist Chris Bohjalian: a palpable sense of place, meticulous research, an unerring sense of the demons that drive us, and characters we care about deeply. The difference this time? Some of those characters are dead.

My take: 3.5 looks
What a nicely done ghost story, especially after reading the milquetoast The Woman in Black by Susan Hill.

This was a truly gripping, suspenseful and scary book. The ghosts were believable and the witchcraft seemed very plausible. I was looking for a few twists and turns that turned out not to be, but this was a straightforward telling of a good old-fashioned ghost story. The use of language was well done and stayed true to the storyline; for example, tincture, sibilant, liminal and obfuscation. The references to arcane devices like the vertical chamber apparatus had me dashing to the internet for a better understanding. Even simple household items, like the dining room chandelier containing light bulbs shaped like faces lent to the electric air for the reader.

Well done, Mr. Bohjalian!


1 comment:

  1. I am currently listening to the audio and it's very well done. The parts with the ghosts sends chills down my spine.