Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Caretakers” as Want to Read:
The Caretakers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Caretakers

3.07  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  32 reviews
"The Caretakers" by David Nickle is a strange tale about a group of people called to a meeting with their intimidating boss. The newest member of their organization is not so sure she wants to even be there.
ebook, 20 pages
Published January 20th 2016 by Tor Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Caretakers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Caretakers

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  114 ratings  ·  32 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Caretakers
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
in a telegram stop would just mean punctuation

okay, i'm not sure i understand this one any better than y'all, but i'll give it a shot. before we dive in, i just wanna say that i think sometimes it can be fun to not "get" everything that's going on in a book, and for me there's a difference between things that are totally over my head and things that are deliciously ambiguous, and in this case, i think you can enjoy the atmosphere and the gentle dread of the story without knowing exactly what's
Description: The Caretakers" by David Nickle is a strange tale about a group of people called to a meeting with their intimidating boss. The newest member of their organization is not so sure she wants to even be there.

Opening: The meeting with Miss Erish started earlier than scheduled, in a room other than the one arranged. That meant they were all late, even Evelyn Simmons, who had flown in the day before and, unable to properly sleep owing to the time difference, risen long before the dawn.

Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it is really a great place to find weird stories. Like this one.
And like several goodreads people, I don't quite get it, the exact point of this story, but without a doubt, it is a story which builds tension and creepiness....which makes it a great read, though a bit undefinable. 3.5 rating for me in the end, still nor sure. And finally... amazing book cover.
This is the storyline: a strange tale about a group of people called to a meeting with their intimidating boss. The newest member of
Goddesses and drownings and business meetings and sterile hotels. Right.

This is what I wanted to do after finishing this story:

 photo mar-cuervo-barquillos-fwx_zpsp9t9b3el.gif

It's simply flummoxing. A group of "employees" meet with their "boss", but not really. Or yeah, or no. I'm not really certain. Again, confusion and the state of being flummoxed.

Here are my thoughts on this strangeness, because I need to justify what I think it's about or tidal waves and jellyfish will invade our lives.

There is a current trend in
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Caretakers is a short story about a group of people drawn together for a meeting with their mysterious employer, to whom they are all weirdly and obsessively attached. Well, except for that one girl.
A genuinely eerie and atmospheric short story, with nicely drawn characters. It's the kind of story that keeps its secrets by burying the lede, then offers only glimpses of what it had been hinting at the whole time. This can be frustrating for some readers, and the story's ambuiguous ending
Feb 16, 2016 rated it liked it
As with many other Goodreads reviewers, I didn't fully understand what happened in this odd little story.

But despite not understanding everything... it was chilling. Cold. Frightening. Eerie.

After having finished reading it, I just want to wrap myself up in a fuzzy blanket and get a cup of tea. It doesn't matter that I didn't fully comprehend what it was about. My brain got the message I think. :)
Nadine Jones
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tor-shorts, short, horror
“I didn’t breathe,” said Miss Erish. “Underneath those cold waters of the Great River, how could I? ..."

I have no idea what I just read, but I know it was terrifying. Chills... Everything about this is cold. I want to put on an extra sweater. What does Miss Erish want? What do any of them want??

Read it yourself (then tell me what it all means):
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Chilling. Creepy. Cold. So cold. Shrouded in mystery. You really don't know what is going on, why the meeting, and yet it you're so drawn in despite that. The feeling of cold, the niggling of something sinister afoot, the hint of violence, of cruelty, it's all there setting you edge. And I am okay with all of it.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Dark and vivid short story. Have only the slightest clue as to what happened.
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tor-com
This one was delightfully vague and thought provoking. I was inspired to read it after seeing karen's review. But don't read her 'spoilers' until after you read the short. You can come up with your own theories that way.
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved the unsettling atmosphere of this short story, the creeping tension and vague plot reminded me of a David Lynch film. And as with a David Lynch movie despite having no idea what happened I really enjoyed it.
Amanda Alexandre
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: cult, disappointments
Very creepy and well written. I was sitting at the edge of my seat and having chills down my spine as I read it.

But since I don't understand it all, I found the ending quite unsatisfactory.
Paul  Perry
Another tale with fine writing, although less fine than the previous example, but that seems to go nowhere. I did like the set up - the mystery of the people meeting like travelling executives, but in the service and at the whim of the strange and mysterious Miss Erish, however we never find out to what end, or even get a hint of what they do ( unless I missed something ) and then the story just ends, leaving this as a vignette or sketch rather than a fully realised story. This can be done to ...more
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
A good story, but not well told.
Julia Albuquerque
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was incredibly haunting, yet fascinatingly vague.

We leave the story without being sure what it is about, but the atmosphere beneath it all is still enough to make it a worthwhile read.

At first I wondered if the author was trying to create an allegory to vice and the dependency it causes, with Miss Erish working as the physical embodiment of that unhealthy relationship, but it just seems too easy.

I still have no idea what this is, but it is definitely worth the read. You can read it here.
Maggie Gordon
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, short-stories
The Caretakers is very successful at creating an impeding sense of doom. The characters have all gathered at a hotel for what seems like an important meeting that quickly goes awry. What this meeting is about, and what exactly went wrong? Readers have no idea really! There are some inferences one can make, but too little has been left to the imagination, leaving that final note of dread manifested conspicuously absent.
Alex Sarll
You know when you think you've worked out the twist way ahead of time? When you call it wrong, it makes the whole thing even creepier. A cleverly insidious little story.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Creepy story.
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
A curious book. Eerie and unsettling. Well written without a doubt but as I'm not sure the point and don't understand it I'm not quite sure how I feel about it.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
 photo FB_IMG_1499088912171_zpskdh7bnjk.jpg

"Amy’s voice sounded very small and much younger than Evelyn knew her to be. She was not a child, not really, but she was inhabiting one, perhaps remembering those nights when she lay awake in a cold bed, with emptiness gnawing like a rat in her belly… in a home where the only notion of escape was intertwined with death, where hope was death because that was how poverty was for a child"…

Let's just say again that it's an another OK short story for me. Though judging by its cover and when I
Faiza Sattar
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, short-stories

A selection of my favourite passages from the book

• But in her consideration, she trembled, and her thumb brushed near enough, and just like that, the decision was made
• Miss Erish didn’t care for calls, in or out, during a meeting: it disrupted the foci as she put it. It was a dilution.
• It caught me afire; that is how it was. On fire in the midst of extinguishing waters. Do you think you will suffocate if you keep that up?
• Miss Erish sat quietly for a moment, then delicately lifted
Ryta Furrier
I don't know what did I read. I have no idea what this short something was about. There was a beginning, some snow, a lot of mystery and no real information at all. We can't know anything about the situation, of what's going on, we just... we can just read some pages about snowing and a woman who helped other people. In a way we also don't know.
We know nothing. We may all be John Snow.
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I don't mind a story with an ambiguous ending, but this one just kind of died--or fizzled more like.
Strange and atmospheric, but didn't give me a strong sense of story. Too much was elided. I'll have to read it again to figure it out, but I'm not sure I want to.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm only giving this short 3 stars because this was quite a good story all the way up until that ending...
I'm just going to say it... What the fuck?? I mean really! Could you not give the reader just a little something more? Sorry but for me this was a big buildup to a total letdown. Way too many things left unanswered. That just sucks!
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked it but it is definitely strange and unsettling. I was looking for the creepy atmosphere others had talked about in their reviews and about half way through I realized the true horror of the characters' situation.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
The tone felt like there could be a fantastical explanation, but it's left too mysterious to tell. Love the cover art by Greg Ruth!
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Review to come.
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: supernatural
A group of people has been called in by the person that helped them over the years. Her behavior is very unreasonable, intimidating, and peculiar, but there are consequences to sever tie with her.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Maiden Thief
  • The Weight of Memories
  • The City Born Great
  • Everything That Isn't Winter
  • La beauté sans vertu
  • The Three Lives of Sonata James
  • Your Orisons May Be Recorded
  • meat+drink
  • The Weather
  • Terminal
  • The Great Detective
  • That Game We Played During the War
  • Lullaby for a Lost World
  • Finnegan's Field
  • A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers
  • Breaking Water
  • Her Scales Shine Like Music
See similar books…
David Nickle is the author of several novels and numerous short stories. His latest novel, VOLK: A Novel of Radiant Abomination, is available from ChiZine Publications. His novel Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism (to which VOLK is a sequel) was a finalist for the Aurora Award, the Sunburst Award and the Compton Crook Award. His story collection Monstrous Affections won the 2009 Black Quill ...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »