Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lost Boy Lost Girl by Peter Straub

WINNER Bram Stoker Award
PLOT Late one night Mark Underhill discovers his mother sitting on the edge of the bathtub, staring forward with empty eyes, "an expression of dazed incomprehension" on her face. A week later she commits suicide. The week after that Mark disappears - just like three other boys from Millhaven.
Mark had never noticed the empty house across the alley, never really looked at it, but once he does, his obsession steadily grows as his mother becomes increasingly exhausted and distracted. It's Mark who discovers her body and becomes convinced that the house had something to do with her death. The house is one the book's main characters as it entangles Mark in its dark history. Writer Tim Underhill, the boy's uncle, returns to Millhaven to help in the search for his nephew. Uncovering a serial killer in the present, he also finds a bloody past and the story of a girl who drew Mark into her world.
COMMENT Lost Boy Lost Girl shifts between past and present and among points of view. Although initially confusing, this constant shifting blended horrors present and past while blurring the fine line between reality and apparition. I had a difficult time getting into the book, but eventually settled into its hypnotic cadence. I must say this is like no other book I've ever read, and by the end - the hopeful, surreal end - the house had grabbed me too.


Debi said...

It's been a long time since I've read a book by Peter Straub. Sounds like maybe I should get back to him one of these days! Thanks for the wonderful review!

Bookfool said...

Sounds interesting. There seem to be a lot of "evil house" books, but I never notice them till the RIP.

Maggie said...

I can't take evil house stuff since our home is over 130 years old. Bah!

Vidalia said...

LOL! I love Maggie's comment and I can't say that I blame her. I just added Anne Rivers Siddons' The House Next Door to my TBR shelf. From what I've read, it might cure me of the desire to take on another book about a possessed house. But, I'm originally from Atlanta and this sounds a lot like a house there, so I was curious (and we all know what curiosity does to cats).