This is a peculiar book to say the least. This is the premise: John Cole decides to leave his life behind. He breaks down and goes looking for help. When he knocks on the door of a dilapidated house, its residents welcome him with open arms. They’ve been expecting him. What follows is a chilling tale of helplessness, desperation and religion.
I got lost a lot with this book. I think I would have appreciated it better if I was more familiar with the bible. The author grew up in a deeply religious home. “Kept apart from contemporary culture, she spent her childhood immersed in classic literature, Victorian hymns and the King James Bible.” The novel is a product of those influences. For example, all the residents have spent time at St Jude’s Hospital. For those of you that don’t know, he’s the Patron Saint of Hope and Impossible Causes. Elijah is a former preacher, he and his biblical counterpart have had their fair share of doubts.
It was only after reading the author biography that I became ‘enlightened’. Before, I was confused about the environment these people had created in this home and the plot in general. It’s only looking back that I understand the questions the author is asking. It is a tale of faith. We have faith in religion and friends and those we consider our guardians. (There are many ways Hester’s intentions can be read.) What do we have when we no longer have faith?