Archives for September 2016

The Dig

The DigThe Dig by John Preston
Format: ebook
Published by Other Press on April 5th 2016
Pages: 233


A succinct and witty literary venture that tells the strange story of a priceless treasure discovered in East Anglia on the eve of World War II  In the long, hot summer of 1939, Britain is preparing for war, but on a riverside farm in Suffolk there is excitement of another kind. Mrs. Pretty, the widowed owner of the farm, has had her hunch confirmed that the mounds on her land hold buried treasure. As the dig proceeds, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary find.

This fictional recreation of the famed Sutton Hoo dig follows three months of intense activity when locals fought outsiders, professionals thwarted amateurs, and love and rivalry flourished in equal measure. As the war looms ever closer, engraved gold peeks through the soil, and each character searches for answers in the buried treasure. Their threads of love, loss, and aspiration weave a common awareness of the past as something that can never truly be left behind.

In 1939 Edith Perry contacted the Ipswich Museum about some mounds she wanted excavated on her property in East Anglia. The museum recommended an amateur archeologist, Basil Brown. Mr Brown went on to uncover one of the most significant sites of medieval history in England. What ensured was a battle between Museums and property owns for the priceless objects found.

John Preston has offered us a fictionalized account of this dig. Using four different narrator’s, Preston covers the period of April through September 1939. The use of these narrator’s was very successful in accounting what happened, which I believe Preston wanted to do without bogging down the story with a lot of character detail. This does leave the story a little unsettled. I for one, am grateful to have the book since it does give us a sense of history.

A Head Full of Ghosts

A Head Full of GhostsA Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
Format: audiobook
Published by HarperAudio on June 2nd 2015


A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.
To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.
Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

I am at a loss how to describe my feelings about this book. To me, the book did not hold up as a horror story, maybe a horrible story?
At age 14, I think that Marjorie was too young to show signs of acute schizophrenia. Demonic possession was a stronger possibility as Marjorie’s family was suffering from both financial and emotional problems which could have opened her to that. Marjorie’s father John has returned to the church to deal with his self-esteem problems, pitting him against his wife.
It only seems natural that this totally dysfunctional family would be recruited to star in a reality TV show about their mentally ill daughter called “The Possession”. Along comes Merry, Marjorie’s younger sister who then comes to center stage, the story then begins to revolve around this eight year old. Sadly the story never builds to the slap in the face ending.