A House at the Bottom of the a Lake
Both seventeen. Both afraid. But both saying yes.
It sounded like the perfect first date: canoeing across a chain of lakes, sandwiches and beer in the cooler. But teenagers Amelia and James discover something below the water’s surface that changes their lives forever.
It’s got two stories.
It’s got a garden.
And the front door is open.
It’s a house at the bottom of a lake.
For the teens, there is only one rule: no questions. And yet, how could a place so spectacular come with no price tag? While the duo plays house beneath the waves, one reality remains:
Just because a house is empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home.
Like Bird Box, the other book written by Josh Malerman, this is a very atmospheric book. It relies a lot on the sights, the sounds, the feel of the world around James and Amelia, the two main protagonists, to set the scene and drive up the tension. It’s not entirely successful but it doesn’t fail either. The concept of the book was supremely creepy and I was eager to get into it but it provided to be a little more bark than bite.
The book revolves around two teenagers, James and Amelia, discovering a perfectly pristine house at the bottom of the lake. An impossible house where nothing is affected by the water surrounding it and no knick knack or item is out of place. Everything is situated exactly as it should be in a house and thus, this is the atmosphere that we’re thrust into. The darkness of the house, the impossibility of its existence and that nagging, creeping sense that it’s not right but it’s too fantastical to question.
James and Amelia become obsessed, spending all their time in diving gear, exploring the house. They lose their virginity there, fall in love there and when the house is taken away, they lose each other. They can’t exist with each other without the specter of the house. It should be sad but I was more confused than anything. Malerman has a penchant for doing this, making his books ambiguous so the reader can come to his own conclusions. I would have liked to have a little more on the house but alas, it did not come true.
I think the crushing, horrible blackness of the dark was done better in Nick Cutter’s The Deep but this book wasn’t bad. It was short, moved well, and was creepy in points but it just didn’t cross the line to really freak me out. Still worth a few hours of time.