“DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK. Authentically terrifying.” —Stephen King
WINNER of Best Hardcover Novel at the ITW Thriller Awards • Finalist for the Bram Stoker and Locus Awards • Shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel • LibraryReads Top 10 Pick • A GoodReads Choice Award Finalist for Best Horror!
Sharp as a snakebite, Sundial is a gripping novel about the secrets we bury from the ones we love most, from Catriona Ward, the author of The Last House on Needless Street.
Rob has spent her life running from Sundial, the family’s ranch deep in the Mojave Desert, and her childhood memories.
But she’s worried about her daughter, Callie, who collects animal bones and whispers to imaginary friends. It reminds her of a darkness that runs in her family, and Rob knows it’s time to return.
Callie is terrified of her mother. Rob digs holes in the backyard late at night, and tells disturbing stories about growing up on the ranch. Soon Callie begins to fear that only one of them will leave Sundial alive...
“This book will haunt you.”—Alex Michaelides, New York Times bestselling author
"An unthinkable feat." —The New York Times Book Review
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Something deeply unsettling occurs in almost every scene of Catriona Ward’s trippy modern gothic. In the book’s opening chapters, we are introduced to “Rob the teacher who lives in the suburbs with [her] handsome sciencey professor husband” and the couple’s two young daughters, Annie and Callie. Rob and Irving’s marriage is a horror show of resentments, infidelity, and cruelty; their older daughter, Callie, “likes to talk about murder at breakfast.” Fearing for her frail younger daughter’s safety—and eager to get away from Irving—Rob whisks away Callie to her childhood home in the bleak California desert, where things get even more sinister. As she did with her bestseller The Last House on Needless Street, Ward proves herself to be a master of weirdness and ominous suspense with a keen sense of the way trauma reverberates through a life. We couldn’t put Sundial down, even though we were frightened of what secrets were about to be unearthed.
With this masterful horror novel, Ward (The Last House on Needless Street) weaves a seething, hallucinatory tale of family, death, and hereditary trauma that will keep readers guessing all the way to the devastating conclusion. Rob has spent years distancing herself from Sundial, her enigmatic childhood home nestled deep in the Mojave Desert, finding comfort and normalcy in playing the role of dutiful wife and mother of two. But when her haunted, volatile daughter, Callie, shows signs that she might be heir to the horrors that Rob has spent so long trying to escape, Rob and Callie must venture back into the Mojave to exorcise the ghosts of Rob's past before they destroy her family's future. Ward's brilliance lies in how she explicates the innate bizarreness of a child's experience of the world and explores the small cruelties that families are uniquely capable of visiting upon one another through intimacies accumulated and treated as ammunition. The queasy narrative gives its characters plenty of space to explore their unreal circumstances without ever sacrificing momentum, and while the ending skillfully ties together the many threads, it never offers easy answers. This is a must-read for fans of gothic literature and taut psychological thrillers.
Lived up to the hype!
"Everyone has one story that explains them completely. I thought I knew what mine was. I was wrong - "
SUNDIAL by Catriona Ward was voted for the November pick of the month for the Wine And Crime Book Club, which is how I finally came to read this psychological horror thriller. I know most classify it strictly as horror, but I actually found it to be more on the thriller side of the spectrum.
All Rob ever wanted was a normal, quiet life: a husband, a job she loved, 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. On the outside looking in, it appeared her dream had been realized. Until the elder daughter attacked the youngest, prompting Rob to do a search of Callie's room and belongings, which yielded a gruesome discovery of tiny animal bones. A disturbing amount of animal bones, which is more than just a casual cause of concern to Rob because she knows exactly what it means: her past that she'd hoped died in the desert with her family has made itself known and those secrets are about to come to light.
I loved Ward's writing style for this story, which is told in past and present tense. The mother daughter duo head back to Rob's childhood home so that Rob can explain to Callie their past, which will explain their future. As Rob tells of the family history, the author does so by putting us in Younger Rob's perspective, then reverting to present tense actions, conversations between Rob the mother and her daughter Callie.
Throughout the entire story, I was never sure if the ghosts were real, or if they were just the ghosts of the past showing themselves as part of Rob's story. I love that we get the story chronologically as Rob goes through it from the beginning, so we learn things as she did over the course of her childhood to young adult years. I had a few suspicions as to what a few things meant, versus what they were introduced as, but I never figured out the actual truth on my own. Lots of twists, turns and intrigue that kept me turning those pages....well, it did once I abandoned the audiobook. I'm a huge lover of immersion reading, but I just could not do it in this case. I downright grew to hate the voices of the young girls the narrator used. Especially when it got a part where Callie would speak in emoji, which even when I read those parts, I couldn't stand it either. I was in complete agreement with Rob on that point. LOL
SUNDIAL is one of the rare books that I loved for the plot and not the characters. I actually found all of the characters unreliable, untrustworthy and unlikeable. The plot though - it was so interesting and mysterious that I just had to know what was actually going on in this family dynamic. I was not disappointed!
I'm very excited to read more of Catriona Ward's works - I added her other three novels to my TBR immediately upon finishing this one!
Creepy Suburban Gothic Nightmare
Is that enough expletives? Just about enough to stay single and childless. But let reality butt in…it’s a book and a good one to make NORMAL people feel this way. After I released my hands to keep my fingernails from digging in my palm, take a breath and see what comes next, I have to say I truly recommend this book.
Not worth it
Couldn’t finish.. just dragged. Nothing happened