Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Review: Come Closer - Sara Gran

Published: May 2nd 2006, Atlantic Books
Pages: 168 pages, paperback
Series?: No, standalone
Acquired: Purchased myself

Summary (from Goodreads): Amanda is happily married, likes her job, likes her life...so those odd dreams she's been having must have been caused by nothing more than stress. Those strange noises around the house? Probably a mouse. Blackouts? Caused by low blood pressure, of course. And that blood on her shirt? Well, everything has a rational explanation.

Instead of a book she had ordered, she is mailed a copy of Demon Possession Past and Present. Soon after, she burns her husband with a cigarette. Accidentally. Something seems to take her over. She begins to study the book on possession.

But, as everyone knows, there are no such things as demons. And, if there were, why should they visit Amanda? She has done everything right.
Still, as she watches in horror, Amanda is becoming less and less herself. And more and more someone - or something - known to students of the Kabbalah as Naarmah, a beautiful female evil spirit with a lust for life and a taste for violence. Someone very unlike Amanda.

My review: As many readers of this blog will know, I'm an absolutely huge horror fan. I love all types of horror but my favourites are those that linger in my mind long after finishing the book - I love those that slowly seep into my subconcious and terrify me when I least expect it. Come Closer is definitely one of those books.

In novels and films we generally see demonic possession from the point of view of the victim's boyfriend or best friend - very rarely from the point of view of the character who is becoming possessed. What helps to make Come Closer so absorbing and terrifying is that it's written in the first person, so as the demon slowly takes hold of Amanda we see her personality and voice change from a vibrant young woman who lives life to the full to a vindictive, sly demon who destroys everybody around her. Truly creepy.

One of the things I loved about Come Closer is how subtly and slowly the story develops. At first Amanda's out of character acts barely register on the demon possession scale and initially I did begin to wonder if the novel was going to take off but boy did it! After the first few chapters things really kick off and Amanda's downward spiral into Naarmah's clutches is absolutely haunting - and so realistic, by the end of the novel I really was on the look out for signs of demons everywhere!

Come Closer would work so well on the big screen and I would love to see a really well crafted film adaptation, definitely with Natalie Portman playing Amanda/Naarmah. It's a very visual film and Gran's writing is top notch - I found it so easy to visualise Amanda and Ed's world and I would love to see this in the hands of a careful director who loves the genre. It could be awesome.

Come Closer really is a gem - I only found it through hours of searching through Amazon but it definitely deserves more hype. It's a brilliantly written book with realistic characters and a truly unsettling story. I read it in a single sitting and would absolutely recommend it to anybody who likes to scary themselves silly - fans of Long Lankin, ahoy!

First line: 'In January I had a proposal due to my boss, Leon Fields, on a new project.'

Read if you liked…: Paranormal Activity (film), Now You're One of Us - Asa Nonami

Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5
Total: 16/20 (B+)

Alternative covers:

1 comment:

  1. I do love a bit of horror and this one does sound like my kind of book. I like the way it is written from the possessed person's view point.


Thank you kindly for the comment, you sweet thing.