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The Possession of Mr Cave

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  400 Ratings  ·  63 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
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Jonathan Cape (first published January 27th 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 28, 2013 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy Hawthorne
Aug 06, 2015 Amy Hawthorne rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
This book deeply disturbed me from start to finish and it was uncomfortable and dark I gave it three stars. However this book gets five stars for how it is written and executed I just really can't believe how badly it has freaked me out.

The second person perspective and the constant 'you' made you feel as oppressed as Bryony the daughter (or possession) of your crazed father Mr Cave. The lack of chapters made it feel like a connected stream of conciousness. The indirect speech orchestrated by Te
Jun 07, 2015 Travis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 starios...

This comes from the perspective of a very pompous Mr. Cave, who I wanted to punch in the face several times. (He talks like a 1950's literature professor.) Though he is a douche, I still found him interesting.

This is the story of how he becomes obsessed with his daughter's safety after the recent death of his son. He also may be off his rocker. You begin to question him frequently throughout the story.

Though there was only one likable character (Cynthia) and a rather bottled plot
Mar 18, 2009 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Beata Bowen
Oct 19, 2009 Beata Bowen rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2009
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...
Lily Cowley
Apr 30, 2016 Lily Cowley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Matt Haig is a genius
Malcolm Everett
Aug 25, 2015 Malcolm Everett rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
MicroReview: After his son’s sudden death, Mr. Cave, a highbrow antiques dealer, becomes overly protective of his teenage daughter Bryony and discovers that his son may still have a score to settle from beyond the grave. This novel is Mr. Cave’s long-winded apology letter to his daughter; his sharp insights will keep you reading even if the repetitive plotline does not.

The Highs

Gothic Tone: The overall atmosphere is that of a suspense film—supernatural events, a narrator surrounded by death, an
May 12, 2010 Paula rated it liked it
‘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,
Feb 15, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-novels
Book Review – The Possession of Mr Cave by Matt Haig

Vintage Books – ISBN 9780099522959 – 7 out of 10

Matt Haigh’s book, The Possession of Mr Cave looks at the life of Terence Cave, the intellectual and unworldly owner of Cave Antiques. He has known pain, his mother committed suicide, whilst his wife was murdered, and now he faces a new tragedy, the untimely death of his teenage son, Reuben, following an easily avoided accident.

Now all he is left with is his daughter, Reuben’s sister, Byrony, the
Aug 31, 2011 Cedar rated it liked it  ·  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
Mar 18, 2015 Tj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you love Ian McEwan, Chris Cleave or Mark Haddon, you will also love Matt Haig. I couldn't put this book down and ignored the laundry for a few nights. The prose is beautiful even as the main character, Mr. Cave descends into madness. At times just the tiniest bit confusing (was that real or imagined?)and one plot point that was just a bit too convenient, the pacing, the character development, the prose, the prose the prose! I dog-eared so many pages. The title means so many things and that i ...more
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
Jan 01, 2010 Janelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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
Oct 23, 2012 Alejandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dianna Phoenix
Sep 23, 2010 Dianna Phoenix rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 09, 2011 Shawna rated it liked it
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
Apr 19, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
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
Adam Bates
Feb 12, 2015 Adam Bates rated it it was amazing
The story itself has elements which make you think that Terence Cave is self absorbed and controlling; but moments like this can be followed up by wondering how the reader would react in the same situation. It is well written, as most Matt Haig work is, and has some quotable lines which stir thoughts and keep you engaged in the story.
You'll find yourself either hating Mr Cave or being able to see the world through his eyes.
Mar 29, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a sad and dark story, full of guilt, obsession, and madness. The plot centers around a relationship of a father and his teenager daughter (in the wake of the recent death of his son). As the daughter gets more rebellious, the father gets more protective, and tension builds.

I bought this book because I had loved another one of Matt Haig's books, called The Humans. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more Matt Haig titles when I go book shopping. Good stuff.
Triscia Smallman
Jun 27, 2011 Triscia Smallman rated it liked it
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!
Mar 22, 2012 Linda rated it liked it
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.
Mar 17, 2010 Victoria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-fic, family
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...
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.
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.
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.
Nov 24, 2009 Michael rated it liked it
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
Oct 25, 2009 Allison Herman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Philippa 'Nef'
Nov 16, 2009 Philippa 'Nef' rated it it was amazing
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 :)
Jan 15, 2014 Erin4013 rated it really liked it
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
Nancy Doerrer
Apr 25, 2015 Nancy Doerrer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, this novel is overwrought and sometimes hysterical (so the reviews say), but I think it's intentional---and effective. Terence Cave is an antiques dealer who lost his wife in a store robbery. His teenage twins are like night and day---Terence favors his daughter. Themes: trust, control, possession, paranoia.
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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
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