THE BIRD BOX by Josh Malerman tells the story of a mother who must get her two children to sanctuary down a river while blindfolded. Because there are creatures out there, and to see them is to become violently insane … Concurrently, the book tells the story of what happened in the house where she hid with other survivors.
This was an interesting read. Malerman, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the World Horror Convention, writes with sparse, simple prose that had me turning pages. This apocalyptic story is compelling because you want to learn more about the creatures and, of course, what happens during the journey and to the survivors at the house.
Based on the Amazon reviews, readers are responding to the book in a big way, though they may find some oddities in the plot. For example, a string of murder-suicides leads to a rumor they saw something, but how could anybody know that? Suddenly, strangely, people everywhere are boarding up their houses and walking around with their eyes closed. There’s a hint at what people are actually seeing–and it’s cool and Lovecraftian–but again, how could anybody know that? You just have to go with it. The woman’s children, whom she strangely calls Boy and Girl, don’t seem to have personalities. The ending wraps things up but not quite with a bang.
Despite these reactions from this reader, I greatly enjoyed the story and read it in just a few nights. The story grabs you and is compelling, it’s original, and the prose tight. It’s an impressive debut novel from Malerman, and I’ll be reading his stuff in the future.