Friday, November 9, 2012
The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts. The home's new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters. Together they hope to rebuild their lives there after Chip, an airline pilot, has to ditch his 70-seat regional jet in Lake Champlain due to double engine failure. The body count? Thirty-nine.
This offering by the talented Chris Bohjalian was a sore disappointment of a novel. Though others have lauded the opening chapters, I confess I was struggling to read on after the first few pages. As interested as I was in the story of the Linton family, the entire herbalist/witch element was off-putting from the very start. I wish the book had focused on the family and their personal demons without pulling in any outside evil to jazz things up. Too long and too complicatedly specific about minutia, this book was a disappointing read that I cannot in good conscience recommend.