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3.31.2010

Audrey's Door

Audrey's Door, which deservedly won the 2010 Bram Stoker Award, is simply an excellent horror novel. Sarah Langan's rich prose and keen insights (her portrayal of the complex Audrey Lucas is alternately heartbreaking and hilarious) make this genuinely frightening novel go.

I was up late with this one, revelling in that richly delicious but so often elusive sense of dread that accompanies a good horror novel.

It reminded me in parts of Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby, but it's certainly got its own mojo working as well.

Scarred by an upbringing marked by poverty, transience and mental illness, Audrey Lucas has made a success of herself.

She is an architect and, for the first time, romantically involved with a man who loves her (Saurab--superbly rendered). When their relationship becomes complicated, she flees the apartment they share for a new place in a bizarre apartment building. The lodging is beautiful and the rent is cheap.

What gives, right? We've seen this setup before, of course. What makes this thing work is Langan's vivid descriptions and bizarre characters. God, but the people in this building will make your skin crawl!

I loaned my copy so I don't have access to verbatim prose, but her portrayals of the shenanigans and interactions between Audrey and the tenants of The Breviary are amazing. They reminded me of the dream sequence in Polanski's film adaptation of Levin's book. The sense of dread just builds and builds as you follow Lucas on her descent into madness.

I highly recommend this book. It's the best pure horror novel I've read in a long while, and kudos to Ms. Langan for pulling off such a feat. I think it'll be talked about in the horror canon for a good long while...

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