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Come Closer Paperback – May 31, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Strange noises that come and go; objects that inexplicably appear, then vanish. Such bump-in-the-night shenanigans are horror-story standard fare, but in Gran's gifted hands, these stereotypes fade away like ghosts. In this sparsely constructed and compellingly succinct gem of a novel, Gran's heroine leads a normal life until things suddenly and mystifyingly go wrong. Amanda does hear noises and experience bizarre situations, yet as a vague but tantalizing feeling of unease settles in, Amanda's fear feeds her needs and desires. Gran's premise, that we accept the impossible, for to do otherwise is to foolishly court disaster, informs the subtle tension beneath this deliciously wicked tale. A short book, it is nonetheless long on style, thanks to Gran's talent for quickly and convincingly portraying Amanda's reluctant terror, abject denial, and, finally, resigned acceptance of the malevolent force commandeering her life. Seductively menacing, alluringly sinister, Gran's ominous study of psychological and spiritual suspense heralds a refreshingly sophisticated and literate approach to an often-predictable genre. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“What begins as a sly fable about frustrated desire evolves into a genuinely scary novel about possession and insanity. Hypnotic, disturbing, and written with such unerring confidence you believe every word, Come Closer is one of the most precise and graceful pieces of fiction I've read in a long time.”
—Bret Easton Ellis
 
“Ideal for an evening’s reading, with a kick that will stay with the reader for days afterward.”
Dallas Morning News
 
“Sara Gran has written an intelligent horror story, a literary creepshow that works its magic subtly and well.  It’s a marvel of restraint and taste, and still it worms its way under your skin and stays there.”
—Darin Strauss
 
“Sara Gran’s Come Closer ought to carry a warning to readers.  It’s impossible to begin this intense, clever, beautifully written novel without turning every page.  A wonderful accomplishment.”
—Margot Livesey
 
“I read Come Closer on the train, in a snowstorm, on a cold December night.  It was the right atmosphere for this perfectly noirish tale of madness and love.  Author Sara Gran writes with scalpel-like clarity, expertly blending tones to create a new kind of psychological thriller.  I loved this book.  Days after finishing it, it has not left my mind.”
—George Pelecanos
 
“‘What we think is impossible happens all the time.’ So claims the beguiling narrator of Come Closer, and after reading this spare and menacing tale, the reader has to agree.  Sara Gran has created a sly, satisfying (fast!) novel of one young woman possessed not only by a demon but also by her own secret desires.”
—Stewart O’Nan
 
Come Closer is sharp and strange and, best of all, at the moment of truth it doesn’t flinch from its own mad logic.”
—Sam Lipsyte
 
The Yellow Wallpaper meets Rosemary’s Baby in a slim, wonderfully eerie novel.”
Kirkus Reviews
 
"Polished and unsettling."
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
 
“It gave us the creeps.”
Arizona Republic

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616951001
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616951009
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sara Gran is the author of Saturn's Return to New York (2001), Come Closer (2003), Dope (2006), and the forthcoming Claire DeWitt & The City of the Dead (2011), the first in a series of novels featuring private eye Claire DeWitt. Her work has been published in over a dozen countries and as many languages. Her books have been optioned for film by Miramax, Dimension, and Paramount. Born in Brooklyn in 1971, Ms. Gran lived in New York City until 2004. Since then she has traveled widely and lived throughout the US including Miami and New Orleans. She now resides in the state of California. Before making a living as a writer, Ms. Gran had many jobs, primarily with books, working at Manhattan bookstores like Shakespeare & Co, The Strand, and Housing Works, and selling used & rare books on her own.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
After reading Sara Gran's excellent "Saturn's Return to New York" I couldn't wait to read her latest, "Come Closer." I expected to love it, and I was not disappointed. Her spare style sets the perfect tone for this grown-up ghost story of a modern woman who just might be possessed. The story was absorbing, gripping -- and creepy: although I read it enthusiastically, this was definitely a book I had to put away after dark. Wonderful!
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Format: Hardcover
An aura of menace gathers around narrator Amanda as strange mood swings and irritating tapping-thumping noises in the walls begin to disrupt her happily married life. Small things gather momentum. She begins fighting with her husband, resumes smoking, goes out drinking after work. The imaginary playmate from her childhood returns. It's quite some time before she realizes the seductive, insistent third voice inside her head (after the initial voice of temptation, and after the sober rejoinder of the voice of reason and resistance) isn`t her own. Or is it?

Gran's ("Saturn's Return to New York") short novel is a fairly straightforward tale of demonic possession, made chillingly delicious by the spare, unadorned voice, quick pace, and subtleties of psychological desire. Amanda's fate is not inevitable; there are ways to counter the demon, but does she have the faith required, or the strength of mind? Does she perhaps prefer to give in? Thoughtful as well as scary, Gran's tale evokes the lonely fears of adulthood.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the few novels that have ever made me feel genuinely terrified. I was reading this alone in an empty house and had to stop because I felt so creeped out. The novel is written in a deceptively simple style that soon had me frantically turning pages. I read it in one day and then read it again straight after- it's that good.

I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that this novel is horrific and convincing. It makes some of the cookie-cutter Hollywood `horror' novels (the ones where the girls with big boobs always get caught by the villain with the fish hook who always walks, never runs) look pathetic and childish. The narrator of the story, Amanda, seems so real and normal that watching her life fall apart in such a horrible way made me feel deeply unsettled.

Overall, I recommended this for people who want a short novel that is refreshing, scary and unusual. It's a quick read that packs a huge emotional punch and is very satisfying. I don't normally read horror books, but found this one to be everything I expected and more. The ending is macarbre and a real bone-chiller. Enjoy!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well written short novel with many things going for it, in
a genre that tries so hard to reinvent itself. Horror, dark fantasy,
whatever you call it always has its share each year of classy tales and I would put this one in that easily. I enjoyed the economy of the story, you
don't need to throw in more than needed, this story centers on this one
woman and those close by her(husband, co-workers)and succeeds in inducing an ever increasing
scence of malice and dread. Not to give anything away to those interested,
its a tight, strange little tale, a nice take on a paranormal-possession subject well written about.
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Format: Paperback
'Come Closer' is a summer storm of a novel - unexpected, hard, fast, and intense.

You can read it in a day - in just a few hours, really. It starts with hints and suggestions, like the smell of heavy clouds, full of foreboding. Amanda, married and successful, starts hearing strange noises in her house, tapping and scratches in the walls. They're worst when she's alone. She becomes irritable and unpredictable, with sudden urges of violence. She finds herself turning into someone she doesn't know, but someone familiar...and she is forced to think the unthinkable.

The story progresses quickly, never letting up to breathe. It washes over you like hard rain, flashes of pure vivid horror like lightning, illuminating everything for just a moment, then fading, leaving images imprinted on the imagination. When it's over, you're left sodden and heavy, wondering just what happened.

Is it scary? At specific moments it was. Some of the things Amanda sees (and does) are truly frightening, and those things will stick with you. In the end, though, I didn't buy into the character enough to care that much. The book reminded me a little of how I felt after seeing 'The Blair Witch Project' for the first time. It wasn't scary, but it was intense. It would probably make a really good, creepy movie. As a book, though, I think I wanted to like it more than I did.

The subject matter works too. Good horror works on deep-seated fears that we all share. In this case, it's the fear of losing control of oneself, of giving in to urges and desires to an extreme - of becoming someone (or something) that frightens us. That is a very real fear, and 'Come Closer' pokes and prods at it until it hurts, a sharp quick jab of pain to remind us just who we are.
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Format: Hardcover
Come Closer By Sara Gran
Soho Press, 2003
Reviewed By Felicia C. Sullivan
Freud believed that "unheimlich" or the uncanny is a much more fertile province in fiction than in real life, for it contains the whole of the latter and something more besides, something that cannot be found in real life. The contrast between what has been repressed and what has been surmounted cannot be transposed on to the uncanny in fiction without profound modification; for the realm of fantasy depends for its effect on the fact that its content is not submitted to reality-testing. The supernatural, albeit concepts of telekinesis, black magic, migration, and demonic possession, is this elusive and intriguing goddess, because it provides one that leads a hum-drum life with the possibility of something other.
Sara Gran's second effort, Come Closer, is a spare and haunting story that migrates the reader from the definitive world of which we are comfortably familiar to a very different world dominated by a lascivious demon, Naamah, known by the Kabbalah as an evil spirit that has "a lust for life and a taste for violence" that assumes the body and mind of a young architect, Amanda. The central figure is a woman that lives a quiet life with her husband and her only thrill is the affections of a stray shepherd that lurks in her empty neighborhood.
The story opens with an odd tapping that only occurs in Amanda's presence. Unable to locate the origin of the sound, she & her husband assume it's mice in the walls, a building abnormality. And so it goes. Soon thereafter, she mistakenly receives a book in the mail entitled, Demon Possession Past and Present and she receives visits in her dreams by a warm figure that was a childhood imaginary friend.
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