The Grip of It

The Grip of It

by Jac Jemc
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The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

Finalist for the Chicago Review of Books Fiction Award, Dan Chaon's Best of 2017 pick in Publishers Weekly, one of Vol. 1 Brooklyn's Best Books of 2017, a BOMB Magazine "Looking Back on 2017: Literature" Pick, and one of Vulture's 10 Best Thriller Books of 2017.

Jac Jemc's The Grip of It is a chilling literary horror novel about a young couple haunted by their newly purchased home

Touring their prospective suburban home, Julie and James are stopped by a noise. Deep and vibrating, like throat singing. Ancient, husky, and rasping, but underwater. “That’s just the house settling,” the real estate agent assures them with a smile. He is wrong.

The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling and his general inability to keep his impulses in check—is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to start afresh. But this house, which sits between a lake and a forest, has its own plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to establish a sense of normalcy, the home and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The framework— claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms—becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall—contracting, expanding—and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of painful, grisly bruises.

Like the house that torments the troubled married couple living within its walls, The Grip of It oozes with palpable terror and skin-prickling dread. Its architect, Jac Jemc, meticulously traces Julie and James’s unsettling journey through the depths of their new home as they fight to free themselves from its crushing grip.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374536916
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 70,367
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Jac Jemc is the author of My Only Wife, a finalist for the 2013 PEN / Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award, and the short story collection A Different Bed Every Time. She has been the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Professional Development Grants, and in 2014 was named one of 25 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex and one of Newcity’s Lit 50 in Chicago. She recently completed a stint as the writer in residence at the University of Notre Dame and currently teaches at Northeastern Illinois University and StoryStudio Chicago, as well as online at Writers & Books and the Loft Literary Center, and she is the web nonfiction editor for Hobart.

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The Grip of It: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There have been many haunted house stories and I didn't expect much from this one but I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this one. The format was fast paced and the content was realistic enough to keep me engaged to the end
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
This was a psychological horror novel that kept getting creepier the more that I read it. As the house became more active, it’s actions more intense, the couple has to find a way to handle its effects. Wanting to get a fresh start, the couple looks for a house away from the city. Wandering inside a house that was built between a forest and an ocean, they notice a few strange abnormalities but the house was such a great deal, they hate to pass it up. The house is huge. It has the potential to last them a lifetime so, as the couple moves in they’re excited for their future. It began before they bought the house but events surrounding the house begin to increase dramatically now that the couple has moved in. It began with noises, then later it progressed to strange shadows, rooms moving, and drawings appearing, just to name a few of these events. It wasn’t just the eeriness and the mysteriousness of these events occurring that I enjoyed but it was also the couple, the new homeowners that I savored. It was their reaction to what was happening, their relationships with each other and the people around them and their personalities that make this novel great. Alternately, we hear from each of them in this novel and the worlds they are witnessing and speak of cannot be imaginary because their stories are identical in a world where communication is lacking. Where once this couple conversed, this couple is now silent and words are implied or absent. With new employers, the couple has a few, new acquaintances to converse with but they’re fearful of what to say and how to explain what is happening in their lives. Everyone seems to know something about the house they have purchased but what is the truth? As James tries to find out the history of the house, Julie is ready to move and leave the house behind. I really enjoyed this novel as I loved the odd, unexplained events surrounding the house and I thought the main characters were perfect for this novel. I liked how the house had a history, yet as we hear from other individuals, this history is extensive. Although the ending was not neatly packaged up, I liked it and thought it tied with how the novel flowed. 4.5 stars
IrregularReader More than 1 year ago
I got this book as part of the Nocturnal Reader’s Box August haul, and I was so excited to read it. I love me a good haunted house book, and this one promised to deliver something original. Julie and James are your typical couple, who decide to move from the city to the suburbs after some personal troubles. They come across the perfect house at a too-good-to-be-believed price (I’m sure you can guess where we’re headed from here). The house comes complete with mysterious hidden passages and rooms, a creepy neighbor, strange children playing in the woods, trees that slowly creep up on the house, an unmarked grave, and a rotten spot in the basement that seems to be growing in size. As events spiral out of control, it becomes less clear if it is the house or the people living in it who are haunted. This book was so so so much fun! I started reading it at night while home alone (a terrible, terrible idea). I had to stop the book, sleep with the lights on, and then finish it the next morning sitting in a pool of sunshine. There are some truly creepy moments in this book, especially for those of us (like me) who recently bought an older house. The book is told in alternating first-person chapters from both Julie and James’ points of view. Sometimes events overlap, and sometimes what happens seems to be at odds with what the other is experiencing. The tone of the book begins in a fairly straightforward manner, but both Julie and James’ narratives begin breaking down as the story moves along. All in all, the book reminds me of House of Leaves by MarK Z. Danielewski, but without all the superfluous bits that distracted from the story. The Grip of It is a bare bones, scary as hell story.