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Discussion of The Night Strangers

Members of the forum choose and read a new book every month together, and then discuss it. Each book of the month get's it's own whole subforum in this forum. Click here to nominate books for book of the month.

How do you rate The Nights Strangers?

1 star - poor, recommend against reading it
0
No votes
2 stars - okay, fair
1
50%
3 stars - good, recommend it
1
50%
4 stars - excellent, amazing
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 2

Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » 02 Aug 2012, 11:37

Please use this topic to discuss the August 2012 book of the month, The Nights Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. Please wait until you have finished the book to read this topic because this topic will contain spoilers.

What do you think of The Nights Strangers? Would you recommend it to others? Do you have any favorite characters or parts?

I like this book very much. It kept me on the edge of my seat. I love the way Bohjalian writes. He uses a wide vocabulary and some intricate styles but the words still flow well and understandably. He does an amazing job giving the story emotional depth, having events narrated in a way that makes me, the reader, share the wide range of feelings of the characters. I enjoy the way he uses the cut-scenes so to speak to build suspense. I found the second-person narrations fittingly unusual and intriguing. Overall, I found the story to be incredibly spooky, suspenseful and downright frightening but in that kind of good way I think anyone who has ever enjoyed a horror book or film understands.

The disturbed, haunted father Chip makes a great redeemable villain. I really like Reseda, but if anything I am a little bit disappointed we do not get to learn more about her and that she does not play an even bigger role in the development of the story.

I really thought I was going to rate this book 4-out-of-4 up until the end. But the ending disappointed me so much. Actually, it seemed to be going great with climatic effect as the twins were hiding and then being caught and Reseda was trying to dispossess Chip. I even like the way Ashley's father finally left. But then it just ended, and I didn't like that. I felt there were two stories, and the one with Ashley's father wrapped up in something like a quick deus ex machina, but then the second story with the herbalists had no ending. And the epilogue just solidified my disappointment. I do not mind an unhappy ending, in fact I think tragedy has more potential then solely happy endings. But I felt this did not have an ending at all; the bad things that we are left with are part of the story prior to any ending. As such, we are left without any of the satisfactions that come with that. There seemed to be absolutely no repercussions for the main, living villains; they got what they want and do not seem to feel even a little regret. There's no positive change of mind for the remaining victims; they just forgot with all their previous efforts in utter vain. As it is, these seems like it would have been an excellent story but it had the last 10 pages cut off and replaced with, "and so the villains succeeded and they lived happily ever after, and the victims did not really mind. The end." Again, tragedy can give an even more dramatic ending if I have anything to go on, but I feel like this was no dramatic ending of tragedy or in other words this was just bad stuff without drama as the ending.

Anyway what do you all think of the ending? What do you think of the story as a whole? Do you have any favorite characters? Any favorite quotes from the book?
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#2  Postby Diane B » 02 Aug 2012, 13:55

As a fan of “how-to” books and non-fiction, I would never have chosen to read a book about witches and ghosts, but I found this book to be well-written and entertaining. I think it’s good and would recommend it -Thank you to whomever nominated and voted for this book!

Here are a few thoughts:
Exciting opening with the plane crash - a heart-pounder of an opening. Also liked the imagery, and sudden switching of gears: ie. A witch was talking about how to kill people with toxic plants and the next statement was: and what should I make the family for dinner? At first you think what – poison? – (heart skips a beat) but then you realize it really was just regular dinner she was talking about. Also Emily announced to the children: Your father must have hung the wall paper by now – which gives you a chill- and sure enough the cat is found dead shortly afterwards and the dad is suspected. Lots of examples like that.

I noticed there was a lot of snow imagery in the book, then Chip compared flying up high with clouds underneathe looking like snow. Then for the landing, the plane would go through the clouds, everything would be dark and then the snow would disappear. So I think the big, old house up on the hill all by itself was like another plane Chip was flying, complete with passengers and surrounded by snow. Just before the big event at the end the snow started melting away, disappearing, and you knew the plane was going down into something bad again, just like the first time….

And will we EVER get financially–responsible protagonists in a story? LOL. After so many financial disasters lately it would be a breath of fresh air reading about people who chose to buy a house they can actually afford. And a wife/husband pilot and a partner in a law firm sounds pretty hectic and stressful to me – no time for community theatre, let alone family time I would think….. I get the feeling that we are supposed to considered the family’s life in the city as ideal: serene, happy, family-oriented, etc. but I just can’t see that happening with two high-profile professionals, one travelling all the time, with 2 small kids – and no nanny.

Drugs and crime are supposed to be found in the big, bad city, not in the countryside, but Emily wants to flee the horrors of Bethel and run back to the city, which is a switch. Interesting to have set the book in an area rich in witch history.

Maybe the message at the end of the book could be: Ignorance is Bliss or Don’t Get into the Wrong Crowd. Or maybe – is society putting too much emphasis on keeping old people alive and youthful, to the detriment of youth itself…? I.e. the old taking jobs from young people? Or maybe I’m reading way too much into this ghost tale … :D

I also find the witches thing a little sad. You don’t hear about men witches. An older woman with “too much” power and knowledge was a handy scapegoat for drought and crop failure. Too bad they were killed off, they probably were the first nurses/ pharmacists/doctors in their communities.

I’m fine with the ending: as in life – it’s not always fair, and not all loose ends get tied up.
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#3  Postby Geneen Karstens » 02 Aug 2012, 20:53

I did not like the ending..in fact I went back about20 pages to see if I'd missed something. The book as a whole was pretty good but I didn't think it lived up to his previous book...Midwives...that I had read. I'd give it a 3.5/5.
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#4  Postby proudmom25 » 03 Aug 2012, 23:52

I also agree I did like the book it was well wrote but.... The end had me like what is that ,that was it? I di not like the ending to well at all
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#5  Postby jomarie » 15 Aug 2012, 06:50

I am only about 100 pages into the book but I am enjoying it. He has a way of pulling you into the story.
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#6  Postby bencyjack1 » 18 Aug 2012, 05:11

I like this Book. The Night Strangers is very much in the same tradition as such revered horror stories as Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen. I'm a Bohjahlian fan, big-time. Even his more flawed or unusual books are very well-written.
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#7  Postby jomarie » 19 Aug 2012, 08:50

I just finished the book. I enjoyed the entire story and the way that it moved back and forth between characters and perspectives. The ending was not what I expected. :o
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#8  Postby adam selby » 20 Aug 2012, 07:52

Geneen Karstens wrote:I did not like the ending..in fact I went back about20 pages to see if I'd missed something. The book as a whole was pretty good but I didn't think it lived up to his previous book...Midwives...that I had read. I'd give it a 3.5/5.



I read this book while studying at Uni good stuff but his endsing alwasy fail to ignite
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#9  Postby Meg_egg » 21 Aug 2012, 20:10

I would have never picked up this book, had it not been recommended. Thank you to those who voted for it. The book was fascinating and kept me at the edge of my seat. I loved how never really knew what was going to come. I wish we would of been able to hear more about the herbalist and their history in the town during the story. I wanted to know how the other people in town knew about the herbalist and their actions. I know the Dunmores had a lot to do with the town's suspicions but I still would have liked to have heard more.

My favorite character has to be Reseda, she is always on the fence with any issue the others have. I too wish we could have got to know her better.

I did not like the ending. I wanted there to be more. I wanted to know how they decided to choose Hallie over Garnet. I wanted to know what happened when Chip came back to his body. I feel that I was left with not knowing the whole story.

Otherwise I would recommend this book.
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#10  Postby jannawithmenna » 23 Aug 2012, 09:49

It sounds like a scary book. alas, I missed reading this book.
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#11  Postby adam selby » 05 Sep 2012, 07:41

didnt likethe ending either. . . . always spoils it when they cheese the ending after such good read
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#12  Postby proudmom25 » 07 Sep 2012, 21:32

jomarie wrote:I am only about 100 pages into the book but I am enjoying it. He has a way of pulling you into the story.

Yes i agree with that i felt the same way when i first started reading i just had to know more!!
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Re: Discussion of The Night Strangers

Post Number:#13  Postby Krobert1 » 12 Nov 2012, 08:01

I am a bit late on my input. I also would never have picked up this book if it wasnt suggested. It was a great read, and I was surprised by the ending. I see many others did not appreciate how it unfolded, but I appreciate a good book that can surprise me.

I feel they had foreshadowed their choice of twins towards the end of the book.

Overall, I found it to be well written.
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