Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Night Strangers

Title:  The Night Strangers
Author:  Chris Bohjalian
Publication Information:  Crown Publishers. 2011. 378 pages.

Book Source:  I read this book based on how much I enjoyed reading Double Bind by the same author.

Favorite Quote:  But my mother used to talk about passages and, once in a while, about ordeals. We all have them; we are all shaped by them. She thought the key was to find the healing in the hurt.

The Night Strangers is the story of the Linton family - Chip, Emily, and their twin daughters, Hallie and Garnet. Chip is an airline pilot whose life changed when the plane he is flying crashes, killing 39 people. To rebuild their lives, the family moves from Pennsylvania to a small town in New Hampshire. They buy a house with a past, not the least of which is the door in the basement with 39 bolts. The book deals with recovering from the trauma of the crash and the strange happenings they find in their new home town - from the "herbalists" to the history of the house to the other townspeople with a fear of the herbalists.

The book is part ghost story, part psychological thriller, party mystery, and part family story. Both Chris Bohjalian books I have read were very unpredictable. The endings made me want to re-read the books to see if I saw it coming. This book does have hints throughout as to what is coming and the reason behind the actions of certain characters. Or perhaps, these signs are more visible now that the ending is clear. I won't say more for fear of a spoiler.

Two-fold reaction to this book. The resolution of the story was not one I expected and not one that made me happy. For that reason, the book was unsatisfying. The story did keep me completely engrossed, waiting to see what happened. I left tasks undone and stayed up late to finish it. Certainly, the signs of a satisfying reading experience.

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