Wednesday 14 July 2021

THE HOME by Mats Strandberg


Once inseparable, Joel and Nina haven't spoken in twenty years.

When Joel's mother Monika develops dementia, he has no choice but to return to his home town. Monika needs specialist care, and that means Pineshade - which also means Joel is going to have to deal with his one-time best friend, for Nina works there.

It's not long before Monika's health deteriorates - she starts having violent, terrifying outbursts, and worse, she appears to know things she couldn't possibly know. It's almost as if she isn't herself any more . . . but of course, that's true of most of the residents at Pineshade. 

Only Nina and Joel know Monika well enough to see the signs; only by working together can they try to find answers to the inexplicable . . .

This book sounded intriguing and the cover is super creepy too, so I was very keen to check it out.

Joel has returned home to help settle his mother's affairs. Unfortunately, that includes putting her into a nursing home called Pineshade. Nina works at Pineshade and hasn't got the best of marriages. When her childhood best friend's mother comes to Pineshade, she starts remembering a lot from their teenage past. At the same time, strange things start to happen at work...

Oooooooh. This is such a menacing and dark horror tale. I really enjoyed this. A lot! 

Asides from the darkness slowly creeping up in the background in the most unexpected way possible, this is about severed family ties, destroyed friendships, and the burdens people carry with them. It's also a grim look at the sheer cruelty of the aging process, especially the way that dementia dehumanises a person. To the point of not being able to recognise if there's a dark entity attacking them, or if it's just this horrifying disease.

It's so sad. And this book manages to weave the uncomfortable reality of dementia with a wicked thread of horror fiction.

I liked how the horror is presented in a very human way. Not just in the rawness of how awful the existence of the residents is, no matter how nice or thorough the caregivers attempt to be, but also in the hard lives of the main characters. 

Joel is a very hard guy to like. He's an addict, continually lies to everyone—including himself—has many secrets, and is desperate to get through the terrible experience of dealing with his mother. But as the story moves along, it becomes quite obvious that there's so much more to him and I actually enjoyed watching him grow.

Nina is a very sympathetic woman and I liked her instantly. She truly cares about her job and the old people in her care. The problem is that she's let her past dictate what/who she is and she's given up on personal comfort/happiness. Has settled and accepts the bare minimum affection when she deserves more. Her journey was very interesting.

There are a lot of different elements that bring this book together, and help deepen this very disturbing and suspenseful story.

The Home turned out to be a wicked surprise, in the darkest and most atmospheric way possible. It's eerie and packed with a bunch of interesting but broken people I couldn't help but like. The malicious angle is a slow burn on the shadowy edges of the narrative that builds until the pressure is too much and totally explodes into a shocking conclusion. 😲 

Loved this twist on one of my favourite tropes! 

Thank you so much, Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

The Home, August 2020, ISBN 9781529402162, Jo Fletcher Books

No comments:

Favorites More