RoomsBook - 2014
The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane--a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.
Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family--bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna--have arrived for their inheritance.
But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself--in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.
The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide--with cataclysmic results.
Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.
From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
Sandra said: “Memory is as thick as mud. It rises up, it overwhelms. It sucks you down and freezes you where you stand.”
Alicia said: I didn’t mean for her to die. Believe this if you believe anything.
Ed was on his way home from the war.
I couldn’t’ return to my family. I had no close friends besides Thomas. But she held on. Little Penelope, my poor little Penelope, who didn’t know how to do anything but live.
She came at last, Queen Penelope, riding a carpet of blood: blue and cold, like someone left too long in the ice.”
Sandra told Alice; “You need to let go, Alice. That’s the whole trick. Let go of everything.”
p. 281 Alice says “They are digging. Under the willow tree.”
Everything comes up in the end.
Sandra said: “Don’t think I feel sorry for myself. The way I figure it, life’s the sum total of all our small mistakes, little tragedies, bad choices. Addition on top of addition. They pile up and pile up until the cost of keeping up appearances is too high and the weight is just too much.
“Maggie was a stranger to me in her adult life, a stiff-backed, short-haired woman with tastes and habits I hardly recognized. … Amazing, isn’t it? That hearts that once beat in sync could be so perfectly and forever separated. That’s the whole process of life, I think: a long, slow process of separation.”
“ … I remember my mother’s hands wrapped thickly around my neck, and the light of the bathroom, bright as a halo.”
Cissy said: “You can’t leave it behind, it doesn’t work like that. It is like spiders.”
I suppose, in some sense, wills are like maps: they are the imprint we leave, the places our affections have been entrenched; the work we have done; the money we have burrowed away; the furrows and the paths that lead back to spaces we have gone, and maked, and loved.”
SummaryAdd a Summary
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I didn’t know what to expect at the beginning. It was not a scary ghost story, and not only had one mystery. The living and death characters had secrets. I had the feeling that they were trapped. The ghosts stuck in an abusive relationship, Caroline trapped with the addiction, Mina abused as a child and Trenton surrounded by a dysfunctional family and with suicidal thoughts. I was looking forward to pick the book up at lunch time and before bed time.
I liked the author style; she gave us short sentences with deeper meaning. (P.281 Alice says:”They are digging. Under the willow tree. Everything comes to an end.”)
(p.289) Sandra told Alice: “You need to let go, Alice. That’s the whole trick. Let go of everything.”
I was also intrigued with Alice. She seemed a very strong woman.
I don’t know if these lines on page 107 answered the question about how Alice died.
Alice was speaking“… I remember my mother’s hands wrapped thickly around my neck, and the light of the bathroom, bright as a halo.”
Did Alice’s mother kill her?
I like the ending of the book. Alice saying: “thank you” to Trenton and the big fire of the house.
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