Sunday, February 13, 2011

In the Night Room.

Title/Author:  In The Night Room by Peter Straub. (Audio).

Read by: Jason Culp.

Publisher: Random House Audio.

Genre:  Horror.

Favorite character: none.

All in all:  I was confused through most of it.  

Synopsis: ...bestselling author Peter Straub tells of a famous children's book author, who in the wake of a grotesque accident, realizes that the most basic facts of her existence, including her existence itself, have come into question.  Willy Patrick, the respected author of the award-winning young-adult novel In The Night Room, thinks she is losing her mind-again.  One day she is drawn helplessly into the parking lot of warehouse.  She knows somehow that her daughter, Holly, is being held in the building and she has an overwhelming need to rescue her.  But what Willy knows is impossible, for her daughter is dead.  On the same day, author Timothy Underhill, who has been struggling with a new book about a troubled young woman, is confronted with the ghost of his nine-year-old sister, April.  Soon after, he begins to receive eerie, fragmented e-mails that he finally realizes are from people he knew in his youth-people now dead.  Like his sister, they want urgently to tell him something.  When Willy and Timothy meet, the frightening parallels between Willy's tragic loss and the story in Tim's manuscript suggest that they must join forces to confront the evils surrounding them.

My Thoughts: This was kind of a difficult novel to follow and I can’t help but wonder if I had a hard time because I listened to it as opposed to reading it.   

This story is about a writer, Tim Underhill, who is getting e-mail messages from dead people that don’t make sense, seeing his long dead sister who is also trying to tell him something and getting visits from an angry angel and a “fan” who is not what he seems.  At the same time, Willy Patrick, another author is struggling with her own life.  Her husband and daughter were murdered and because of this she spent time in a psychiatric hospital.  Now, she is trying to start a new life with her fiancĂ©, but discovers a horrifying secret about him and at the same time is wondering if she is losing her mind again.  Tim and Willy collide in an interesting way, which I thought was pretty cool.  Then they go on a mission to resolve what is happening to both of them.  

The premise was interesting.  It had to do with the fictional world overlapping the real world. Characters were angry because the author didn’t get their story correct and this in turn caused reality as well as their fictional world to be off balance.  As I've stated in previous posts, I don’t need everything in a book to be spelled out, but there was a lot here that I just didn’t understand.  I think a lot of the explanations as well as the ending were a bit too existential for me.  

I would have also liked to have felt more invested in the main characters.   Although I knew a lot about Tim from backstory, it didn’t help me to get to know him better.   Plus, the asides took me out of the story that was being told.  I felt slightly more connected to Willie, but more so during the beginning of the story.  After she and Tim meet, I didn't like her as much.    

One thing though is that Straub creates this world that gives the reader a sense of unease.  I didn’t know what was going on and I did keep listening because I wanted to find out. I think that this book is a mindbender, unusual, thought provoking and haunting.  But there were a lot of elements that didn't make sense and I'm not sure how they carried the plot along.

I don’t really know what to say.  In the Night Room won the Bram Stoker award.  Maybe it just didn’t translate well to audio.  Maybe I just didn’t “get it.”  I absolutely loved The Talisman and Black House which he wrote with Stephen King, so I was surprised about my feelings regarding this book.  I would however, try another Peter Straub book as he is one of the “kings” of Horror.

2 out of 5 stars.

Afterthoughts:  I went to Amazon to see what others thought after I wrote my review.  Most people loved it.  A few were in agreement with me.  I also found out that The Night Room is a sequel to another book that Straub wrote called Lost Boy Lost Girl, which is talked about in this book.  Maybe if I had read that first this one would have worked for me better.   



Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I've read a few Peter Straub books, mostly because I feel like he's a writer that I should adore, but the only books of his that I've really liked were The Talisman and The Black House.

Midnyte Reader said...

That makes me feel better Kate. I may try one or two more of his books.

Hyacinth Marius said...

In Straub fashion, this book meanders through the dark aspects of each character's fear. From the perspective of an amateur writer, I find it fascinating the way he describes the protagonist's love for his own fictional characters.

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