06 October 2014
Nyctophobia by Christopher Fowler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Nyctophobia is defined as a significant fear of the dark. I'm not generally someone who is afraid of the dark, although I've been known to have my overtired darkness hallucinations from time to time. While I'm not really into scary books, this story in particular kind of feeds into the latent fears that I think we all thought we might have grown out of.
I also hadn't slept well in a week while reading this, and realized that (given I was reading this before bed every night), perhaps the warm glow of my Paperwhite was not enough to keep my mind firmly rooted in reality.
The tale is, in a way, a book about architecture. Callie marries and moves to Spain with her husband. Their home is an older building that is constructed in a certain way to allow light in at all times, but also has a closed-off servants quarters and is built to have some severely dark wings as well. The home also comes with a housekeeper and a gardener, both of which are as mysterious as the house itself. And then there are the weird things going on, the stuff in the dark behind the doors, and how protective of the dark side of the house the housekeeper tends to be.
The book is super creepy, and uses the concept of the fear of the dark in a pretty cool way. The reveals along the way are all pretty crazy, and it becomes almost a game of one-upsmanship along the way as the story speeds toward its end. The book does sputter a bit toward the end as it moves away from what made the rest of the narrative so scary in favor of a neat, but strange, explanation, but the fun of this book is more about the ride than the destination.
Overall, for a book that's generally outside of my genre preferences, I was very pleased and really enjoyed it in spite of the fact that it probably kept me up for a week. Might be a good gateway for this type of story for some, and I think those who are already happy to be a little scared when they read will find something to enjoy here.
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