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.
Featuring twenty to thirty authors in each issue, NANO Fiction has roots that draw from Aesop’s Fables and Zen Koans. Notable practitioners of this prose form include Lydia Davis, Franz Kafka, Italo Calvino, Ignacio Martínez de Pisón, Naguib Mahfouz, and Linor Goralik, among others.
This issue of NANO Fiction features works by: Nicholas T. Brown, Ryan Call, Brian Allen Carr, Gabe Durham, Avital Gad-Cykman, Frank Giampietro, Jenny Gillespie, Jennifer Gravley, Kate Hagerman, Kyle Hemmings, Ann Hillesland, Jac Jemc, Janet Jennings, Suzanne Lamb, Brandon Lamson, Cynthia Litz, Joël Martinez, Stephanie Martz, Scott McWaters, Katherine Megear, Amanda Montei, M.V. Montgomery, Adam Moorad, Thomas Mundt , Fred Muratori, Thisbe Nissen,S. Craig Renfroe, Jr., Sophie Rosenblum, Tom Whalen, Timothy Willis Sanders, Stephanie Valente, and L.A. Zimmerman.
Written with the narrative tension of The Road and the exquisite terror of classic Stephen King, Bird Box is a propulsive, edge-of-your-seat horror thriller, set in an apocalyptic near-future world—a masterpiece of suspense from the brilliantly imaginative Josh Malerman.
Something is out there . . .
Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?
Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?
Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.