The other day, my boyfriend plunked a book down before me, and said I had to read it. That book, Bird Box by Josh Malerman, was an absolutely horrific treat.
We’ve got an apocalypse caused by a lovecraftian horror that drives you utterly insane just by seeing it, and a story of parenting and human survival and adaptation. This is not a fun romp in a wasteland. This is a creeping, claustrophobic horror that will keep you hostage reading it until it is done. Luckily, it is not a super-long book, so its disruption in your life will be negligible.
Obviously, I could not put this page-turner down until it was finished. It was creepy, scary, and engrossing without being a gore-fest. Its concept is nothing I’ve seen or read before, and its execution was great.
Bird Box is told from the perspective of a woman trying to raise kids in a confusing and new world, but it doesn’t fly into narrative omniscience. You might want to know more, but your narrator isn’t gonna give you an in-depth review of the end of the world or its cause — her perspective is that of the average person, not a superman. She’s trying to make do in a world where looking outside your window can suddenly and totally destroy your sanity.
Bird Box‘s limited narrative view can be annoying at times (I want to know more!); but that is part of why it succeeds in its horror. You’re stuck in the main character’s head, in a house, with who knows what lurking out there. It enforces the claustrophobic horror.
The ending felt a bit rushed and sudden, but you can’t remain in that mode of apprehensive and lurking horror for all eternity — something has to break the tension. The kids are too insanely well-behaved for my taste, as well, but those are my only complaints with this book. It shook me to my core, and I was delighted to have it do so.
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