Saturday, December 5, 2020

Bird Box

Bird Box by Josh Malerman
2/10/15; 272 pages

Bird Box by Josh Malerman is a very highly recommended thrilling novel of an unseen terror.

One glimpse of whatever is outside drives people map, resulting in deadly violence or suicide. No one knows what it is or where is came from. The only way to survive is to keep your eyes covered at all times. Malorie is a young pregnant woman who finds her way to a safe house of survivors. That was five years ago. Today is thee day that Malorie and her four year old Boy and Girl are going to leave the house and travel down river by boat to a safe community - all while blindfolded so they don't even glimpse whatever is out there. The children have been trained to sharpen their hearing. Perhaps that will help in their terrifying journey.

The novel alters between chapter from five years earlier, when Malorie arrived at the house, which sharply contrast with the present day chapters of her trying to navigate a river while blindfolded. It is simply terrifying to know that the mere sight of something will cause the death of you and your children, but at the same time trying to travel twenty miles down a river blindfolded could result in the same thing. And then to hear something following you... Both time periods are fraught with almost unbearable tension that one small mistake could cause the death of everyone.

I thought Malerman handled the character of Malorie perfectly. When death is literally at your door or over your should all the time, you don't focus on anything that doesn't help with survival. Everything is reduced to getting through one more day without mistakes. The narrative is pared down to the bare bones of the story, then and now, because the basics are all that matters. You know that Malorie will be giving birth during the before chapters because she is traveling down the river with Boy and Girl in the boat. And yes, she does not named them until the very end.

I waited for a lull in review books to read this one and I wish I had picked it up sooner. I haven't seen the movie, but the novel is incredible. (It somehow seems appropriate to read this during a pandemic where many people are worried about an unseen virus killing them.)

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