Come Closer

Come Closer

by Sara Gran

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Overview

Come Closer by Sara Gran

A recurrent, unidentifiable noise in her apartment. A memo to her boss that's replaced by obscene insults. Amanda—a successful architect in a happy marriage—finds her life going off kilter by degrees. She starts smoking again, and one night for no reason, without even the knowledge that she's doing it, she burns her husband with a cigarette. At night she dreams of a beautiful woman with pointed teeth on the shore of a blood-red sea.
 
The new voice in Amanda's head, the one that tells her to steal things and talk to strange men in bars, is strange and frightening, and Amanda struggles to wrest back control of her life. A book on demon possession suggests that the figure on the shore could be the demon Naamah, known to scholars of the Kabbalah as the second wife of Adam, who stole into his dreams and tricked him into fathering her child. Whatever the case, as the violence of her erratic behavior increases, Amanda knows that she must act to put her life right, or see it destroyed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616951009
Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/31/2011
Pages: 168
Sales rank: 217,294
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Sara Gran is the author of the novels Saturn's Return to New York, Dope, and Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, the first in a detective series.  Her work has been published in over a dozen countries and in nearly twice as many magazines, newspapers, and literary journals. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Sara Gran now lives in California.

Read an Excerpt

1

IN JANUARY I HAD A proposal due to my boss, Leon Fields, on a new project. We were renovating a clothing store in a strip mall outside the city. Nothing tremendous. I finished the proposal on a Friday morning and dropped it on his desk with a cheerful little note—“Let me know what you think!”—while he was in a meeting with a new client in the conference room. Later that morning Leon threw open his office door with a bang.

“Amanda!” he called. “Come in here.”
 
I rushed to his office. He picked up a handful of papers off his desk and stared at me, his flabby face white with anger.

“What the hell is this?”

“I don’t know.” It looked like my proposal—same heading, same format. My hands shook. I couldn’t imagine what was wrong. Leon handed me the papers and I read the first line: Leon Fields is a cocksucking faggot.

“What is this?” I asked Leon.

He stared at me. “You tell me. You just dropped it on my desk.”

My head spun. “What are you talking about? I put the proposal on your desk, not this, the proposal for the new job.”

I sifted through the papers on his desk for the proposal I had dropped off. “What is this, a joke?”

“Amanda,” he said. “Three people said they saw you go to the printer, print this out, and bring it to my desk.”

I felt like I had stepped into a bad dream. There was no logic, no reason anymore.

“Wait,” I said to Leon. I ran back to my desk, printed out the proposal, checked it, and brought it back to Leon’s office. He had calmed down a little and was sitting in his big leather chair.

I handed it to him. “This is it. This is exactly what I put on your desk this morning.”

He looked over the papers and then looked back up at me. “Then where did that come from?” He looked back at the fake proposal on the desk.

“How would I know?” I said. “Let me see it again.”

I read the second line: Leon Fields eats shit and likes it.

“Disgusting,” I said. “I don’t know. Someone playing a trick on you, I guess. Someone thinks it’s funny.”

“Or playing a trick on you,” he said. “Someone replaced your proposal with this. I’m sorry, I thought—” he looked around the office, embarrassed. In the three years I had worked for him I had never heard Leon Fields apologize to anyone, ever.

“It’s okay,” I told him. “What were you supposed to think?”

We looked at each other.

“I’ll look over the proposal,” he said. “I’ll get back to you soon.”

I left his office and went back to my own desk. I hadn’t written the fake proposal, but I wished I knew who did. Because it was true; Leon Fields was a cocksucking faggot, and he did eat shit, and I had always suspected that he liked it very much.




2

THAT EVENING I WAS telling my husband, Ed, about the little mystery at work when we heard the tapping for the first time. We were sitting at the dinner table, just finishing a meal of take-out Vietnamese.

Tap-tap.

We looked at each other.

“Did you hear that?”

“I think so.”

Again: tap-tap. It came in twos or fours, never just one—tap-tap—and the sound had a drag on it, almost a scratching behind it, like claws on a wood floor.

First Ed stood up, then me. At first, the sound seemed to be coming from the kitchen.

So we walked to the kitchen and bent down to listen under the base of the refrigerator and look under the stove, but then it seemed to be coming from the bathroom. In the bathroom we checked under the sink and behind the shower curtain, and then we determined it was coming from the bedroom. So we walked to the bedroom, and then to the living room, and then back to the kitchen again. After we toured the apartment we gave up. It was the pipes, we decided, something to do with the water flow or the heating system. Or maybe a mouse, running around and around the apartment inside the walls. Ed was revolted by the idea but I thought it was kind of cute, a little mouse with the spunk to make it up four stories and live on our few crumbs. We both forgot about the story I had been telling, and I never told Ed about the practical joke at work.

***

THE TAPPING went on for the rest of the winter. Not all the time, but for a few minutes every second or third night. Then at the end of the month I went to a conference on the West Coast for two days, and Ed noticed that he didn’t hear it at all while I was gone. A few weeks later Ed went to a distant cousin’s wedding up north for three days. The tapping went on all night, every night, while he was gone. I searched the apartment again, chasing the sound around and around. I examined the pipes, checked every faucet for drips, turned the heat on and off, and still the tapping continued. I cleaned the floors of any crumbs a rodent could eat, I even bought a carton of unpleasant little spring traps, and the sound was still there. I turned up the television, ran the dishwasher, spent hours on the phone with old, loud friends, and still I heard it.

Tap-tap.

I was starting to think this mouse wasn’t so cute anymore.




3

THE NOISE WASN’T SO unusual, really; our building was close to a hundred years old and one expected that kind of noise. It had been built as an aspirin factory when the city still had an industrial base. After the industry moved out, one developer after another had tried to do something with the neighborhood, full of abandoned factories and warehouses like ours, but the schemes never took off. It was too far from the city, too desolate, too cold at night. As far as I was concerned it was better that the development hadn’t gone as planned. Our building was still only half full. I liked the peace and quiet.

The first time we saw the loft I was absolutely sure it was the home for us. Ed needed a little convincing.

“Think of the quiet!” I told Ed. “No neighbors!”

Conduits were in place for lighting and plumbing but they had never been utilized. We would have to do major renovation.

“Think of the possibilities!” I cried. “We can build it from scratch!”

Six white columns held up the place. Heat was provided by an industrial blower hung from the ceiling. “It has character,” I told Ed. “It has a personality!”

He relented, and we got the place at half of what we would have paid elsewhere. We spent the extra money on renovation. Ed gave me free rein to do as I pleased. I was an architect and now I could be my own dream client. I designed every detail myself, from the off-white color of the walls to the porcelain faucets on the kitchen sink to the installation of the fireplace along the south wall, which cost a fortune, but was worth the money.

The neighborhood, though, was sometimes difficult. No supermarkets, no restaurants, a few small grocery stores that specialized in beer and cigarettes. The edge of the closest commercial district for shopping was ten blocks away, and the nearest residential area was on the other side of that. But we adjusted quickly. We had a car to take us wherever we wanted on nights and weekends, and during the week we usually took the train to work. Our other concern when we first moved in was the crime, but soon enough we found out there was none. It was too desolate even for criminals. I did, however, come to be scared of the stray dogs that patrolled the neighborhood. The dogs kept their distance and I kept mine but I always felt it was an uneasy truce. I didn’t trust the animals to keep their side of the bargain. Walking home from the train I would spot one lurking in a doorway or on a street corner, eyeing me with suspicion. I was sure I would have preferred a mugger, who at least would only want my money—I didn’t know what these dogs wanted when they looked at me with their bloodshot eyes.

That fall I found out when a German shepherd mix followed me home from the train station one night. I thought running would only provoke him, so I continued to walk at a regular pace, faking nonchalance. The German shepherd trailed behind at an equally steady pace, also faking nonchalance. At the entrance to my building, a steel door up two wide steps, I put my key in the lock and thought I was home free—the dog stayed on the street. And then in one great leap he jumped up the two steps and attacked. With his front paws, as strong as human hands, he pushed me against the wall, ignoring my horrified screams, licked me right on my mouth and tried to seduce me. When I finally convinced him I wasn’t interested, he sat down by my feet, panting with a big smile. I spent a few minutes scratching behind his ears and then sneaked through the door.

I would have forgotten about him except that the next day he was waiting for me at the train station again, and the day after that. Walking home with him became a routine. He knew a few simple commands (“sit,” “stay,” “no”) and I was convinced he had started off life as somebody’s pet. I even went to a pet store and bought a bag of nutritionally balanced dog biscuits for him. On our walks home from the train I used the biscuits to teach him a few more commands—walk, lie down, stop-trying-to-fuck me (which we abbreviated as Stop). I hoped that if I got him into more civilized condition I could find a home for him. I would have liked to take him in myself but Edward was allergic; dogs, cats, hamsters, strawberries, angora, and certain types of mushrooms were all hazardous materials, to be kept out of the apartment and handled with care.

But I was glad to have at least one friend in the neighborhood. And over the next few months it was my new friend, a nameless flea-ridden mutt, rather than Ed, who would be the first to see that I was not entirely myself.

***

NOT THAT Ed wasn’t attentive, not that he didn’t notice what was going on in my life. He just wasn’t able to put the pieces together as quickly as the dog. Ed was my hero, my savior. Ed was the man who had imposed order on my my chaotic life. When I was single, I’d eaten cereal for dinner and ice cream for lunch. I’d kept my tax records in a shopping bag in the closet. I’d spent Saturdays in a hungover fog, watching hours of old black-and-white movies. With Ed I spent Saturdays outdoors, doing the things I had always imagined I should do: flea markets, lunches, museums. He did our taxes, with itemized deductions, every January, and filed the records away in a real file cabinet. Here was a man who could finish any crossword puzzle, open any bottle, reach the top shelf at the grocery store without strain. Here was stability, here was something I could rely on, my rock, day in and day out. Someone who loved me, who would never leave me alone. You can’t blame this sophisticated, civilized man for not having the same instincts as a wild dog.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Page,
The Beginning,

Customer Reviews

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Come Closer 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
...yet this is brilliant. I was apprehensive about the whole demon thing, but I read it because I love Gran's DOPE. The story is wonderfully told, and it can be read literally or as a great metaphor for anyone who's ever feared he was 'losing it.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe the good reviews for this book. I really can't believe I spent $10.99 for 117 pages. That's the scariest thing about this! Will admit the beginning drew me in but mid-way through I saw it was going no where. Just droned on and on. No surprise or scary ending at all. Very disappointed.
hooksnotneedles More than 1 year ago
This was the first Gran book I read and I am hooked! Warning: If you scare easily, DO NOT read this on a dark, stormy night. Or in an old house prone to noises for that matter...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Freud believed that ¿unheimlich¿ or the uncanny is a much more fertile province in fiction than in real life, for it contains the whole of the latter and something more besides, something that cannot be found in real life. The contrast between what has been repressed and what has been surmounted cannot be transposed on to the uncanny in fiction without profound modification; for the realm of fantasy depends for its effect on the fact that its content is not submitted to reality-testing. The supernatural, albeit concepts of telekinesis, black magic, migration, and demonic possession, is this elusive and intriguing goddess, because it provides one that leads a hum-drum life with the possibility of something other. Sara Gran¿s second effort, Come Closer, is a spare and haunting story that migrates the reader from the definitive world of which we are comfortably familiar to a very different world dominated by a lascivious demon, Naamah, known by the Kabbalah as an evil spirit that has ¿a lust for life and a taste for violence¿ that assumes the body and mind of a young architect, Amanda. The central figure is a woman that lives a quiet life with her husband and her only thrill is the affections of a stray shepherd that lurks in her empty neighborhood. The story opens with an odd tapping that only occurs in Amanda¿s presence. Unable to locate the origin of the sound, she & her husband assume it¿s mice in the walls, a building abnormality. And so it goes. Soon thereafter, she mistakenly receives a book in the mail entitled, Demon Possession Past and Present and she receives visits in her dreams by a warm figure that was a childhood imaginary friend. They lay in sanguine sand, warmed and Amanda is filled with comfort and release. The dreams increase with fervor and soon Naamah is a voice teetering on her earlobe, eager to envelope Amanda, to create her anew. Slowly, things begin to change. Amanda burns her husband, accidentally, a black-out reveals that she has committed a slashing of a newsstand seller and a colleague and she repeatedly finds herself in bars donning sexy heels and painted lips, seducing men. Throughout the transformation, Gran effectively balances the psychological with the supernatural. Naamah is Amanda¿s id, delivering the freedom that she would otherwise never have. But a part of her intercedes, always, seeking to right things by visiting a psychiatrist, seeking a exorcism, a sliver of her ego clings while the rest of her slips away. Gran keeps the tension heightened to determine whether Amanda¿s life will return to normal ¿ she¿ll resume her safe life with Ed, peter along at her small firm or will Naamah sustain, consume Amanda whole. The story¿s progression is artful, subtle and the balance of Amanda/Naamah¿s interior point-of-view juxtaposed with her outward face is masterful in understanding the character¿s psychological transformation. One feels this is New York, but not really ¿ from the nebulous location throughout, the reader feels grounded and ungrounded at the same time. Gran in Come Closer asks us to question the things we firmly know. The psychological and supernatural are so intricately linked in this tale, that it is eerily accessible to the reader ¿ could the impossible be possible? What is possession? What are the limits of the pragmatic, scientific world as we know of it and how easily could it be compromised by the intangible? Sara Gran weaves a fine yarn between the two and delivers a wonderfully unpredictable ending in our predictable world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent, psychological thriller that will linger with you for weeks. The book's pace is brisk and to the point, which can give you the false impression that it is simplistic. Once it grabs hold, you cannot help but feel you too could be possessed by a demon. By the time this sweet little chiller comes to its terrifying conclusion, you will certainly be sleeping with a light on. Where the author may lack in detail, she makes up for in rhythm. I found it fascinating that the book's chapters get longer as the possession becomes stronger. And the narrative tends to get murky and psychotic as the demon takes hold. What the book does not explain in its narrative is far scarier than what is on the page. This is not for those who must have everything spelled out for them. Like a good psychological thriller, the scariest parts are what you imagine in your mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book may have been a bit too complex for a high school senior. Somewhere in between a noir thriller and a classic horror novel, Amanda's slow posession by a demon had me unable to put the book down. It keeps you guessing right until the very end, and it stuck with me for days afterwards.
raspberrybee on LibraryThing 7 days ago
This book was very strange and creepy. It was a quick read, as I think it was only about 160 something pages. It told the story of a woman, Amanda, who is slowly posessed by a demon. It's an odd, odd story.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
This was a quick, entertaining read. This is not a novel that you can skim over, as you would undoubabtly miss something important as event happen quickly and every detail is vital. I enjoyed the novel and thought the story was interesting and it definitely drew me in. Had the author slowed things down in the story and worked in more details and development, I think the story would have been more creepy and suspenseful. Amanda and her husband Ed have a good life. They each had great job, a nice home and they loved each other. Things start to take a wrong turn when they began hearing some mysterious tapping at night. Unable to find the source, the couple put up with the noise, blaming it on the 100-year-old building their home was located in. Amanda dreams of a childhood friend she used to have and surprisingly, days later she swears that she sees a girl on the street who looks exactly like this same individual. Amanda begins to notice that her life is changing and when Ed and her begin to argue more, this really gets her attention. Dragging down the book she erroneously received in the mail and kept, Amanda opens the beginning pages and takes the quiz before reading any further. Amanda score lands in the middle. According to the novel, Demon Possession, she is probably haunted and should get help. Things begin to escalate rather quickly in her life. Oh, she knows good from evil when she has the choice but she doesn’t always get to make the decisions now. I thought this section of the novel was fun and exciting as Amanda is not the sweet girl that Ed had married and things between this happy couple get interesting. Opening her novel once again, Amanda takes the test again and her score has changed. She should have listened before because now, it just might be too late.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
This was a quick, entertaining read. This is not a novel that you can skim over, as you would undoubabtly miss something important as event happen quickly and every detail is vital. I enjoyed the novel and thought the story was interesting and it definitely drew me in. Had the author slowed things down in the story and worked in more details and development, I think the story would have been more creepy and suspenseful. Amanda and her husband Ed have a good life. They each had great job, a nice home and they loved each other. Things start to take a wrong turn when they began hearing some mysterious tapping at night. Unable to find the source, the couple put up with the noise, blaming it on the 100-year-old building their home was located in. Amanda dreams of a childhood friend she used to have and surprisingly, days later she swears that she sees a girl on the street who looks exactly like this same individual. Amanda begins to notice that her life is changing and when Ed and her begin to argue more, this really gets her attention. Dragging down the book she erroneously received in the mail and kept, Amanda opens the beginning pages and takes the quiz before reading any further. Amanda score lands in the middle. According to the novel, Demon Possession, she is probably haunted and should get help. Things begin to escalate rather quickly in her life. Oh, she knows good from evil when she has the choice but she doesn’t always get to make the decisions now. I thought this section of the novel was fun and exciting as Amanda is not the sweet girl that Ed had married and things between this happy couple get interesting. Opening her novel once again, Amanda takes the test again and her score has changed. She should have listened before because now, it just might be too late.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One reviewer wrote about Freud which I think sums it up. This is a psychological thrill ride leaving the reader guessing if Amanda is possesed by the demon, Naamah, until the end. One question - did anyone else think Naamah = Amanha?
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BeckyMatos More than 1 year ago
An amazing book! A must must MUST read!
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Shewhirler More than 1 year ago
I read Come Closer because I wanted to review a horror novel for Halloween. This book was in my TBR pile, so I thought I’d give it a shot. This quote from the description held great promise: “The mystery behind what's happening to Amanda in Come Closer is so frightening that it "ought to carry a warning to...readers.”” Sadly, it did not deliver. Novels about demon possession can be very creepy, especially in a quiet not-so-obvious way that can sneak up on you. I did have one such experience while reading this book. I was about half way through it when I awoke one night a little after midnight thinking that I heard something. I opened the door to my bedroom, stepped into the hallway, and turned on the light. As I looked down the hallway towards the stairs, I had this ice cold feeling creeping up my spine. I thought about the tap-tap in the book. I thought, “I better find something down there making noise.” Thankfully, I found the dishwasher had finished its cycle and was emitting four small beeps every minute or so. Relief washed over me. And I was pleased to think that maybe the book was scarier than I thought. But when I finished it a day and a half later, I was still left disappointed. I think the issue for me was that the story lacked intensity. It was told in the past tense which took away the immediacy of the problem and the conflict. I never felt that heart-pounding rush of adrenaline spurring me on to find out what happens. I think if I was witnessing all of the events as they were occurring, it would have been much more horrifying. There would have been a sense of urgency, fear, and confusion. I didn’t sense or feel any of that from Amanda, the protagonist. In fact, she treated the whole nightmare quite nonchalantly. I felt she was weak and gave a half-hearted attempt to save herself. If you truly love horror, save yourself and find another book to read.
02kinkyeyes-_- More than 1 year ago
<3 unforgettable.
Tamika Tolliver More than 1 year ago
I%27ve+never+read+a+book+like+this+before%2C+it+pulls+you+in+from+the+beginning.+It+takes+possesion+to+a+new+level....you+will+be+surprised+at+the+end.