Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bird Box - Josh Malerman

I love audio books. Listening to a book is somehow more intimate, making you feel closer to the author's words. And the experience of the book is much different than reading it. Josh Malerman's debut novel Bird Box is one I am so very glad I listened to. My husband can't stand the light on at night, so I usually listen to an audio book before falling asleep.

Here's the premise of Bird Box. In the near future, something or someone has arrived on Earth. One glance at whatever it is will drive you mad and a horrible death immediately ensues. There are a handful of survivors who have figured out how to stay alive.  One group in a house by the river includes a young woman named Malorie.

Malerman flips the narrative back and forth as we learn how the situation in the house deteriorated and what led to Malorie and two four year olds named Boy and Girl sitting in a boat blindfolded, trying to row their way to what may or may not be a safe haven. Each narrative is just as gripping, switching at just the right moment, leaving the listener wanting more. (And leaving me mighty tired in the morning)

Malerman ramps up the scary factor by tenfold (or more!) Actions that we would take for granted are suddenly terrifying. Going outside is frightening beyond belief - is something watching you? Stalking you? What just touched your arm? Was it a branch...or something else? Was that a footstep or just a branch dropping? You can't know - because you can't open your eyes. You do, you die. But what if? What if you did look? What if you looked through a camera? What if...?

This is one of the best audio books I've listened to in a long, long time. Remember, I'm in the dark listening. It only intensified the story as I imagined what the characters in Bird Box were going through. I truly had goosebumps. There are no overt gory scenes in the book - rather it is the slow building tension that is the most horrifying. Cassandra Campbell was the reader and she did an excellent job. Her voice is easy to listen to and has a lovely resonant tone to it. Her interpretation of the book did it great justice. I felt I was in the story with Malorie as she recounted her tale - an even, resigned tone to the known and ramping up as the danger of the unknown increases.  Listen to an excerpt of Bird Box.

I'll be waiting to see what Malerman comes up with for his next book. Universal Pictures has also optioned Bird Box. Fans of Cormac McCarthy's The Road would love this book.


bermudaonion said...

That might be too scary for audio for me. I'll have to look for it in print.

Mystica said...

I think the story itself is scary!