The Possession of Mr Cave
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The Possession of Mr Cave

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  250 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Terence Cave, intellectual, music-lover and owner of Cave Antiques, has experienced more than his share of tragedies. His mother's suicide and his young wife's death at the hands of burglars left him to bring up his young twins alone. And now one of them has died in a grotesque accident as a result of bullying.

Bryony, the remaining twin, has always been the family's great...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Jonathan Cape (first published January 27th 2008)
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Linda  Branham Greenwell
The story is about Mr. Terrence Cave - a self-absorbed, controlling man.... who becomes even more so after the death of his son, Reuben. Reuben fatally falls from a light post after attempting a daredevil stunt in front of a group of local boys, Mr. Cave then falls into a sort of madness. Madness which causes him to become even more self-absorbed and controlling of Reuben's twin sister, Byrony. He convinces himself that he is "protecting" her but in reality he just seems to be controlling and gu...more
Beata Bowen
A pulpy page turner. One of those guilty pleasures. You can't put it down, but once it's done you feel a little cheap...
‘The Possession of Mr Cave’ begins with the main character, Terence Cave, father, widower and antiquarian describing the day his son Reuben dies in the most tragic of circumstances, giving into peer pressure by bullies, he falls to his death, his last words to his father being ‘don’t go’, from that point begins Terence’s obsession with his daughter, Bryony, Reuben’s twin sister and his slow descent into possessing Bryony and everything in her life.

Terence Cave is a man who has loss in his life,...more
Aug 31, 2011 Cedar rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teenagers and Up
An Obsession... A Death... A Princess... A Villain... A Hero...

Again Matt Haig approaches death, grief and the boarders of insanity. I enjoyed this book, and loved the concept, loved that it was grey, decisions were left to the reader... originally, then it swapped, suddenly its spelt out, we, the reader, know for sure, and even are made to slightly empathize, and feel sorry for the father, the ultimate sacrifice and having to get there. And I didn't like that. I liked it being a bit more ambigu...more
The very first book I reviewed for Watermark, last March 13, was Matt Haig’s “The Labrador Pact.” (btw, anybody else notice that best-seller “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” which came out months later, has nigh the same plot as “The Labrador Pact”? Although from perusal of online reviews, as is typical for an American shall-we-say-retelling of a British original, “Racing in the Rain” appears to have a happy ending.)
So I think it’s appropriate, a year later (I know! A whole year! It’s like I’m s...more
There were certainly creepy elements to this book but at times I found it a bit dramatic and over-plotted. I felt that there were too many similarities between some of the deaths and at certain points it was somewhat hard to tell what was actually happening and what was only occurring within Terence's mind.

I found myself being mostly interested in Rueben's death and what Bryony knew about it, but somehow all of that information was broken up into smaller bits and dispersed at you piece by piece...more
I have deeply mixed feelings about this book. At first, I thought I hated it because the main character is so pathetic; but then I thought about it and it really is a superbly written book. Keeps you turning pages while building this uneasy feeling of hatred towards the narrator. The story is told through the voice of Mr. Cave who owns an antique shop. The book is written as some sort of note left for his teenage daughter Bryony. It centers around the obsession this man develops towards her dau...more
Joshua Glenn
It was a cool book. I didn't exactly like like it, but it's a fresh air for me in a while. It's spooky at the same time very heartbreaking, it's a book that you could devour in just one sitting!
I could not put this book down, it was suspenseful and touching and heartbreaking and frustrating; I just felt so many things while reading it. This psych drama is a definite page-turner, I'd recommend it for older readers, because it's relatable for parents and they're desire to protect their children no matter the consequences
Dianna Phoenix
In “The Possession of Mr. Cave,” Matt Haig seizes on the terrible panics. If truth be told he stacks the knock over with them: the narrator’s mother dead by suicide, his wife dead at the hands of a burglar as well - in the terrifying, spellbinding, tear-jerking scene that unlocks the novel - his son, Reuben, dead by a brainless effort to curry favor with bullying go over. What is left? Moreover how to uncover a explanation to go on with living in the face of pain? These are the primary issues th...more
Really readable book. Kept a decent pace throughout. Very different look at guilt and the slide into madness that could so easily happen to anyone (maybe not to that degree!).
While at times I found this 'mystery' a bit overdramatic and filled with obvious metaphors which are overly drawn out, eventually Haig touches on a very real and very poignant issue -- how far will a parent go to protect his children and at what cost? If one reads this bizarre story as a metaphor for the anguish, fear, and eventual acceptance of a parents' coming to terms with his child's entry into the teenage/adult world, this is a strong novel. But if read as a 'mystery', I found it lacking a...more
A darkly compelling story, of grief, tragedy and obsession. Is it the supernatural, or is it mental illness that lead to the events taking place? I'm not entirely sure.
Dysfunction without the fun. Dark. Morbid.

I'm just not a Matt Haig fan, I guess. This book was OK. If you enjoy going into the mind of the nutjob, this would be a good book for you.

Mr. Cave misses his dead family members so he becomes super controlling of his only child. He has spells where he thinks things are happening (ie: hearing his daughter scream when she doesn't, or he sees her horse running around their town when it isn't) and they cause him to become even more freaky where his daughte...more
Interestingly written story of obsessive behavior of a father towards protecting his daughter from the world after loss of her twin brother and earlier death of his wife. His behavior is affected by his feeling of guilt due to the negligent affection he had for his son in favor of his daughter. The book is mostly a narrative description of the father's thoughts about his perception of his daughters actions and gradually give way to hallucination. This is an interesting twist at the end.
Allison Herman
Matt Haig's writing keeps getting better and better. This is the story of a man who has so much loss in his life, it's almost as if he has no choice but to let it take over every thought he has. His teenage daughter is testing him and his reaction to it is purely based on his previous experiences, much to his daughter's dismay. Between the lies, the mistrust, the family betrayals, and the helplessness felt by both, the book wraps up with a great twist I didn't see coming.
Haig's words are amazing, and his way of writing have becoming one of my favourites ever.
It did took my few days to finish reading it, but it's not because of the book itself rather it was because of my non-existence time to read.
Anyways, The Posession of Mr.Cave is quite an enjoyable read on my behalf.
I really really recommend this book to any strict parents that thought that by controlling (dictating) their children's life, it would resulted in their happiness.
Triscia Smallman
I randomly selected this one at the library. I appreciated the England setting, the writing style of the English author, and the author's edits of all swearing by using "----" in the text. (so clean!) It was curious to watch Mr. Cave fall into his psychosis and simultaneously become more protective of his daughter. It was haunting (in a non-ghost kind of way) without scaring me. I wouldn't read it again though. And I will still let my kids leave the house!
Derek Baldwin
The father of a teenaged girl (whose twin brother's death he witnessed) becomes insanely protective of her, with dire consequences.... The eponymous Mr Cave's obsession is depicted very well, but the parts of the text in the voices of other individuals are wholly unconvincing and didn't seem that necessary to me in advancing the narrative. This is gloomy and not especially fun to read, but thought-provoking and worth a try - it's pretty short after all.
This was one creepy book. The big issue is whether Mr. Cave is the possessor or the possessee. Matt Haig does creepy quite well, and I would have given this four stars, except for one thing: all through the book, Haig leaves figuring everything out to the reader, and then, very close to the end, he gives away too much, as if he doesn't trust the reader to get it. Still good, but disappointing. And creepy.
I just wasn't that impressed with this book. Though short, it was hard to connect with the ramblings of this overprotective father - and it was equally hard to feel sympathy for his bratty teen daughter... If anything, the book was over-crafted, and all-in-all, disappointing - especially after how much I enjoyed The Labrador Pact. That feeling of narrative ingenuity and creativity was really lacking here...
Alex Templeton
This novel is a quick and suspenseful psychological portrait of a man who has lost both his wife and his son and becomes overly possessive of his daughter, to the point of engaging in behavior such as stalking her. Mr. Cave definitely was creepily portrayed; his interest in his teenage daughter had many uncomfortable sexual overtones. I enjoyed this book, but didn’t find it an incredibly memorable must-read.
Diane Lybbert
Told in a first-person narrative, like a journal, a father chronicles his descent into paranoia, suspicion, and madness after the death of his son. His wife was killed years earlier, and now he is left with only his daughter, who he must protect at all costs - from the world, from herself, from his fears. Disturbing and engaging.
Philippa 'Nef'
I really enjoyed this dark, bleak account of parental love gone wrong. I'd previously read The Dead Father's Club by the same author and hadn't really been that impressed with it. However, Possession is really quite interesting and I adored the writing style. Perfect for overbearing parents and people who were troublesome teenagers :)
Recommended through my book club. The widowed father is obsessed with keeping his 15 year-old daughter safe from harm. In so doing, he ruins their relationship and many other lives. I liked the British voice of the story but some of the otherworldliness of the story was hard to follow or respond to.
Read this mainly because I so enjoyed another novel by the same author, but didn't like this as well. Although "Possession of Mr. Cave" takes a few rather admirable steps down a psychological fiction rabbit hole, I'd say skip it; read his other book "The Dead Father's Club" instead.
Daphne Atkeson
Grim little British psychological thriller about a single father whose twin son falls from a lamppost and dies and he gets obsessive about protecting the daughter that remains. Won't say more, but this was a ripping quick read that was engrossing and very believable.

Kristin Little
It was an easy, quick read, but I couldn't force my way through it. About 3/4 through, I gave up, which is VERY unlike me. I just hated all the characters and the story gave me the willies (and not in a good way). Not my cup of tea. Glad I only picked it up at the dollar store.
I liked this one. But for some reason I just couldn't get into the characters. I didn't find any of them likable. But I did get through it and there were some twists that I didn't see coming.

I would say this is worth a try if you come across it.
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Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as 'delightfully weird' and the New York Times has called him 'a novelist of great talent' whose writing is 'funny, rive...more
More about Matt Haig...
The Humans The Radleys The Dead Fathers Club Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest The Labrador Pact

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