Finalist for the Chicago Review of Books Fiction Award, Dan Chaon's Best of 2017 pick in Publishers Weekly, one of Vol. 1 Brooklyn's Best Books of 2017, a BOMB Magazine "Looking Back on 2017: Literature" Pick, and one of Vulture's 10 Best Thriller Books of 2017.
Jac Jemc's The Grip of It is a chilling literary horror novel about a young couple haunted by their newly purchased home
Touring their prospective suburban home, Julie and James are stopped by a noise. Deep and vibrating, like throat singing. Ancient, husky, and rasping, but underwater. “That’s just the house settling,” the real estate agent assures them with a smile. He is wrong.
The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling and his general inability to keep his impulses in check—is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to start afresh. But this house, which sits between a lake and a forest, has its own plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to establish a sense of normalcy, the home and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The framework— claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms—becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall—contracting, expanding—and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of painful, grisly bruises.
Like the house that torments the troubled married couple living within its walls, The Grip of It oozes with palpable terror and skin-prickling dread. Its architect, Jac Jemc, meticulously traces Julie and James’s unsettling journey through the depths of their new home as they fight to free themselves from its crushing grip.
The latest from Jemc (A Different Bed Every Time) is a haunted house tale that toys with the hallmarks of ghost stories a young city couple moving to a small town, a curmudgeonly neighbor, a spooky legend to create an exhilarating and unsettling literary page-turner. After settling into their new home, James and Julie discover it is riddled with secret rooms and passageways. Soon thereafter, drawings appear on a bedroom wall, noises keep them up at night, and bruises appear on Julie's body. Despite their efforts, they can't get in touch with their realtor, who has vanished from existence, and the woods that line their backyard full of children playing in the treetops appear closer to their house each day. A local bartender tells James about the troubled family who previously owned the house, and while snooping around the neighboring home of a secretive old man, the couple discovers a life filled with tragedy and premature death. From here, Jemc settles comfortably into the couple's increasingly paranoid and disturbed thoughts. Short chapters bounce between James's and Julie's perspectives, and as the author ratchets up the tension, the reader eagerly follows. The conclusion is the perfect cap to a story full of genuine frights.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I was in the grip of it too
Im still somewhat confused about what exactly I just read , that however is kind of brilliant. I’m not one of those follow through the end, even if Boring kind of reader , but this book never bored me. It was as if I was in the grip of it too , confused , not sure I should keep going , yet so intrigued that I could not put it down. This book isn’t for horror readers , it’s more of a slow thriller. It did however have the effect on me of watching a horror film and yelling at the actor not to go into that dark basement.