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305 pages, Hardcover
First published September 23, 2014
We’ve nested in the walls like bacteria. We’ve taken over the house, its insulation and its plumbing--we’ve made it our own. Or maybe it’s life that is the infection: a feverish dream, a hallucination of feelings. Death is purification, a cleansing, a cure.If death ever takes a holiday I expect he might vacation in Coral River, the upstate New York locale where Richard Walker lives…well…lived. Richard’s recent passing is what has brought the Walker family back together for a spell. A funeral, a burial, a will-reading, and a chance to go over some of the events, the challenges, the hopes and disappointments, the failings of their lives.
It was unfair that people could pretend to be one thing when they were really something else. That they would get you on their side and then do nothing but fail, and fail, and fail again. People should come with warnings, like cigarette packs: involvement would kill you over time.There is also a lot about being trapped whether as a child in an abusive household, a woman in an abusive marriage, a teen in what seems a dead-end existence, or a ghost in an empty house. There are some moments of humor, although none of the LOL variety, but dollops of charm do seep through the walls from time to time.
People, Caroline thought, were like houses. They could open their doors. You could walk through their rooms and touch the objects hidden in their corners. But something - the structure, the wiring, the invisible mechanism that kept the whole thing standing - remained invisible, suggested only by the fact of its existing at all.When Richard Walker died, he left behind a lifetime of accumulated wealth, estranged and horribly embittered alcoholic wife Caroline, nymphomaniac daughter Minna who is unable to form any real emotional bond with anyone, and suicidal teenage son Trenton who is like Holden Caulfield on steroids. He also left behind a house inhabited by two ghosts, the empathetic Alice and the cynical Sandra.
1. Let’s make a list of themes that show up in adult books:
e. All of the Above
2. Okay, now I’m going to take each of the main 5 characters and assign them a vice from my adult theme list. My characters are going to be terribly flawed, unlikeable human beings. I’ll be the next Gillian Flynn – it’ll be great!