Mulholland: Little, Brown. Jul. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780316458498. $28. HORROR
Proving that the scares in her 2018 debut, Baby Teeth, were no accident, Stage returns with her second novel, this time ratcheting up the supernatural element. Orla, a recently retired ballerina, agrees to move with her family from Manhattan to a remote farmhouse in upstate New York so that her husband can pursue his painting career. Almost immediately upon arriving, their tween daughter senses something is very wrong; the land and trees surrounding their house teem with evil intent. The atmosphere is oppressive from page one and the tension builds steadily throughout, as the house and the land it stands on turn against the family, infiltrating their innermost thoughts, making Orla question her very sanity.
VERDICT Reminiscent of the severe disorientation and trauma in Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves and the nature-seeking revenge theme of Stephen Graham Jones’s The Only Good Indians—with elements of and nods to Shirley Jackson’s works
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