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Publisher's Summary

From the internationally best-selling author of Measuring the World and F, an eerie and supernatural tale of a writer's emotional collapse.

"It is fitting that I'm beginning a new notebook up here. New surroundings and new ideas, a new beginning. Fresh air."

This passage is from the first entry of a journal kept by the narrator of Daniel Kehlmann's spellbinding new novel. It is the record of the seven days that he, his wife, and his four-year-old daughter spend in a house they have rented in the mountains of Germany - a house that thwarts the expectations of the narrator's recollection and seems to defy the very laws of physics. He is eager to finish a screenplay for a sequel to the movie that launched his career, but something he cannot explain is undermining his convictions and confidence, a process he is recording in this account of the uncanny events that unfold as he tries to understand what, exactly, is happening around him - and within him.

©2017 Daniel Kehlmann (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A beautifully crafted exercise in terror from one of Germany's most celebrated contemporary authors.... This novel is, in many ways, a classic haunted-house tale. There are warnings about the house from the people in the village below. There's a creeping sense of horror. There are frightening phenomena that the narrator cannot explain. And there are specters. Kehlmann uses all these familiar tropes beautifully. But he also creates a sense of existential dread that transcends the typical ghost story.... A book to keep you up at night." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"My favorite German novelist. [Ian McEwan, The Sunday Times (London)]

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • RICK
  • Canada
  • 07-11-18

Like a good episode of the original Twilight Zone

An intriguing little confection. It’s going to be made into a movie which will be quite some trick given how little actually happens in the story. Much of it is so internalized but really spooky. It will stay with you long after you’ve read it (or listened) in this case.

Well performed but at times the translation from the original German becomes somewhat apparent.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book.

This is the first book I've listened to that was narrated by Robertson Dean. He did a great job. The story was a little hard to get a hold of at the beginning but within 15-20 minutes I got the hang of the writer's style. I look forward to watching the movie with Kevin Bacon in the future.

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    2 out of 5 stars

Great idea, but poorly executed or incomplete.

I really enjoyed the concept of Mr Kehlmann's story, but it was underdeveloped. It's closest analog might be Stephen King's "The Shining," but with less detail. He did a good job of not copying that story, but his story left me feeling unfulfilled. The characters were interesting, and I wanted to learn more about them, but got too little history to develop much sympathy for them. That the principal character was a writer attempting to complete a screen play seemed poetic in a way, since the dialogue between the characters was the most detailed and skillfully done part of the story. Still, I was left feeling like the story itself was skeletal, like an outline of something that should've been bigger. I wish I could read (understand) the German language, as I suspect some story details and dramatic impact may have been lost in the translation. But, with all due respect to Mr Dean the translator, I'll admit this is mere speculation.

I enjoyed the reading of the story. The actor's performance was entertaining. His vocal range was very interesting, with a mellifuous baritone that was quite distinctive. He reminded me a little of Orson Welles.

No doubt I'll have to read more of Mr Kehlmann's work...