The Grip of It (Paperback)
Alternating between two points of view, this is the story of a couple moving from the city into a weird country house. They are at first enamored of the secret spaces and impossible rooms but soon are plagued by the uncanny. It's a slow burn, but propulsive, especially as we begin to doubt the inhabitants' veracity. Are they being gaslit? Are we? You'll find yourself unsettled by how little it takes to fill an otherwise steady mind with poisonous doubt. --Christopher— From Staff Favorites List
FINALIST FOR THE CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS FICTION AWARD
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.
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.