The Cabin at the End of the World (2018) – Paul G. Tremblay

I read and enjoyed Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts, so when I heard about his novel, The Cabin at the End of the World, I was suitably intrigued as it seems both he and I don’t love the home invasion subgenre of horror. His thought process was ‘how would I write one?’ and this is the result.

And it’s enjoyable, mysterious, and leaves you wondering about the possibilities.

Eric and Andrew are a happily married couple, and they along with their adopted daughter, Wen, have taken a bit of a break up at the red cabin, a place they’ve rented by the lake for a while. Wen is eager, adorable, and is the first to encounter the problems that are coming into this family’s life.

Four strange, Leonard, Adriane, Redmond, and Sabrina arrive on foot, all dressed in a similar fashion, all carrying strange hand made tools/weapons. Leonard arrives first, and despite his friendly attitude towards Wen, he tells her that he is here to speak with her entire family, and to put a choice before them.

Leonard and his fellows claim to have been guided here by a vision, shared images of an imminent apocalypse, which can only be averted by a selfless sacrifice. A sacrifice done by one of the three members of the family.

Leonard and the rest claim they won’t hurt anyone, they won’t force the choice on any of them, but one of them must decide to give up their lives, or the world will be plunged into an eternal darkness.

Are they mad, are they telling the truth, there are things to support either claim, and the trio find themselves trapped in a horrific scenario, even as their captors prepare for the end of the world, hoping against hope that Eric, Andrew or Wen will offer themselves up as sacrifice.

Rational explanations are provided for everything, but the shifting perspective of the book’s narrative leaves the reader guessing.

The book allows the characters and the reader to wrestle with beliefs, love, our fascination with end times, and ultimately, forms of sacrifice. The Cabin at the End of the World is a captivating, page-turner, alternately terrifying, puzzling and deeply mysterious that makes one wonder how we look at the world and the beliefs that drive us.

I understand that there’s a film version coming, and I wonder if it is going to lean one way or the other, or leave it up to the audience to draw their own conclusions. This was a very enjoyable read, and it gives a nice spin on a familiar subgenre.

The hunt for more scares continues!


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