This is the book I read via Kindle for my Third Tuesday Book Club meeting tomorrow night (March 21st, 2017). It won the Bram Stoker Award for Novel in 2009, and was quite an interesting read, full of ghosts, demons, and demonic persons, which I enjoyed reading.
Audrey Lucas considers herself to be damaged goods; she grew up being raised by her mother, who was paranoid schizophrenic manic depressive, and they never stayed in the same town for long in Nebraska. Audrey is OCD, and never really got the knack of how to make friends or communicate well with others. She had gotten out long enough to attend the University of Nebraska; when her mother appeared at her dorm room her senior year, with a tattoo and Hepatitis C, instead of going to graduate school in architecture after graduation Audrey put her mother in a rehab center and spent the next ten years working at IHOP. Once she committed her mother to a psychiatric facility, she got a scholarship to Columbia and moved to New York. Through a dating service she met Saraub, born in this country of Indian parents, who is a filmmaker trying to get financing for his movie project. They move in together, and she starts her job at a noted architectural firm one week after finishing her thesis.
She moves out with Wolverine, her cactus, after Saraub asks her to marry him; when she thinks about marriage and children, she cannot breathe. Audrey thinks she has hit the jackpot to find an apartment for $999 per month; the apartment is in The Breviary, which is the last Chaotic Naturalism building built in the 1860s still standing (the rest collapsed from unsound foundations), which thrills her architectural soul. She promptly moves in, despite warnings from the building’s super and strange vibes from the building itself; the building is full of very old, very strange people, who are all descendants of the original fifteen families who took up residence in the building when it was first built (hand-picked for their devotion to Chaotic Naturalism, which is (or was) a nihilistic cult).
I found the book to be deliciously creepy; the veil between dream, hallucination, and fantasy drops for those in The Breviary, and extremely strange things happen. Occasionally the book digresses, and some of the digressions are better than others (two extended digressions featuring Audrey’s boss at the architectural firm add little to the story). On the whole, though, the book is good; in a preface, the author notes that she was inspired by The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, The Shining by Stephen King, and Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby, among other works. I anticipate a good Third Tuesday Book Club meeting tomorrow to discuss the book.