For as long as I can remember, I have always had a thing for horror. Scary tales of ghosts and goblins, of dark eerie nights and shrill screams that reverberate all around- horror seldom fails to bore me. It isn’t like I don’t get nightmares post watching these movies. I do get them, really bad ones. And I swear, I hear every bump and creak from the wall, floor and door of my home. I sure am amazed at the sudden improvement in my ears’ hearing capabilities.
So why do I like horror?
Despite the plot of most horror movies lacking basic logic, it is the spookiness that whisks an element of curiosity within me. I just have to know how far a story could go to scare me out totally. This weekend, having exhausted most movies in this genre- from Ghostbusters (released over 20 years ago) to the more recent Japanese ones (which I have watched with subtitles on); I decided to substitute horror movie with a horror book. Co-incidentally it is Halloween around the corner, so why not add a bit of spook to my reading list.
Books surely cannot spook you as much as movies, for visual content can create better images in your mind. Or, so I thought. I read The Graveyard Apartment, and trust me I was spooked. Through the book, I had goose bumps and despite the predictable plot of horror I ended up reading it page by page.
The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike
This book was published in the year 1986 by Japanese author Mariko Koike, who is well known for detective and horror writing. It has been translated from the original by Deborah Boliver Boehm in the recent years. The Graveyard Apartment is a terrifying tale of Teppei and his family who move into an apartment building in the heart of Tokyo. The apartment cost them half of what it ought to and the family is happy to have found a perfect home.
In this idyllic setting there exists a devil force, a deep dark and potent one, owing to the fact that the building faces a graveyard and crematorium site. Slowly strange and terrifying occurrences begin to happen. Deep down in the basement of the building, there are unknown forces lurking and its presence can be felt by one and all. One by one, the resident families begin to shift out, leaving Teppei and his family as the last ones to move out. However, the family soon realizes that they cannot. The evil force all around gets stronger and they find themselves trapped within its vortex. How do Teppei and his family tackle it? Are they able to conquer the evil force and leave the creepy apartment building?
Horror… horror… all through
The Graveyard Apartment is your typical horror read, predictable in most ways. The story begins on a slow note, but post 30% of the book it begins to take shape and pace. Despite being a translation, I loved the clarity in the narration. In fact, the narrative does tremendous justice in bringing out the horror experience. The sounds and sights created leave you with goose bumps all through.
Yet, despite this horror element being intact, it did come as a bit of disappointment that the author failed to provide a logical reasoning to the presence of the evil force, or on how it could be eradicated. But well, it is Japanese horror, and surely one mustn’t care to find any sort of logic in it. All that must matter is the spookiness.
Stiffen up as nightmares do the round
Having completed reading this book, I must say, my nightmares are doing the rounds. I stiffen up at the slightest of sounds, and turn back a million times at night as I head to pick up water from my refrigerator. For those who have managed to sit through horror movies such as The Ring and Grudge, here is a horror book that will leave you with a similar experience.
Read for its spookiness
The book is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book format.
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