The Cabin at the End of the World

The Cabin at the End of the World

The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts adds an inventive twist to the home invasion horror story in a heart-palpitating novel of psychological suspense that recalls Stephen King’s Misery, Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood, and Jack Ketchum’s cult hit The Girl Next Door.Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote ca...

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Title:The Cabin at the End of the World
Author:Paul Tremblay
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Cabin at the End of the World Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    When the end is near will you know it? Will signs appear to show it? And what sort of end will it be? Ice or fire? Conflagration? Land consumed by an angry sea? And what if there’s uncertainty? What if

    is not the result of

    , but just the way things are, under no one’s control to cause or prevent? And if there is no control, what is the role of those who speak on behalf of an unseen power? Do they suffer from confusion, perhaps delusion? Can we take them at their word? What if they insis

    When the end is near will you know it? Will signs appear to show it? And what sort of end will it be? Ice or fire? Conflagration? Land consumed by an angry sea? And what if there’s uncertainty? What if

    is not the result of

    , but just the way things are, under no one’s control to cause or prevent? And if there is no control, what is the role of those who speak on behalf of an unseen power? Do they suffer from confusion, perhaps delusion? Can we take them at their word? What if they insist we go along with their intrusion, even though we’ve reached a very different conclusion? Lines are drawn when the mad demand our subjugation. What sort of god could allow such things and still insist on adoration?

    - image from Litreactor.com

    Wenling (Wen) will be eight years old in a few days. She and her two daddies, Eric and Andrew, are away from it all, up from Cambridge, at a cabin in northern New Hampshire, near the Canadian border.

    Peace and quiet, no nearby neighbors, plenty of grasshoppers. Wen is outside collecting some in a jar, to study. She is even giving them names, and making sure to pick smaller ones that will not damage themselves on the jagged edges of the air holes she’s poked in the metal lid. Out of nowhere a very large man appears, Leonard.

    He is soft spoken and seems kind, even helps her collect some specimens. But Leonard is (like the

    ) on a mission from god. He has three other people with him.

    Well, in that case, sure, come on in…or not. Wen, alarmed, runs to tell her dads. The four insist on entering. The dads are determined to keep them out, and the siege is on.

    Image from ZD Net

    An apocalypse is coming and these four are both heralds and, potentially, agents of prevention. Were the voices they all heard some common mental illness, an alien intrusion, or truly a sign from you-know-who? That the world seems to be going to hell quickly in a dramatically large handbasket lends them some credence, but what they are asking is unthinkable.

    Tremblay has written detective novels, scores of short stories and a few horror books, all while keeping his day job, schoolteacher. Perhaps because of having to deal with adolescents at work

    at home, he is fond of horror story tropes. In

    he became one with the demonic possession tale. For a later work,

    , he considered what sort of things would most terrify him personally. And the winner was

    , every parent’s nightmare. This time he took on another favorite source of terror.

    I guarantee you have not read one like this one before.

    Image from JoeCruzMM.files.wordpress.com

    The intent doesn’t matter much if you do not care about those in the home being invaded. No problem. Wen is edible, and her daddies are a very human couple, with affection and edges reasonably distributed. Details of their lives make you care for them more and more. And you will have cause for concern, as they are facing very real, very existential immediate peril.

    There are plenty of elements in common with the usual home invasion horrors. Wondering if your invaders are nuts, fearing for your life and the lives of your loved ones, trying to figure out ways to get the better of the baddies. What is different is that the home invaders do not seem to be evil people, despite the most definitely evil-looking scythe-like weaponry they tote. (When the going gets seriously tough, the seriously tough get going to FourHorsemenOutfitters.com, your goto provider for your end-times needs. Tribulation-free ordering guaranteed) Leonard, the leader, seems particularly reasonable, a gentle giant, nice even. They might be insane, but what if they are not? There are reasons offered to consider the latter possibility. The other three are definitely equipped with good sides too, but a bit less manifestly than their leader.

    - by John Martin

    image from the Indiana University Art Museum Provenance Project

    Any fine meal is composed of a range of ingredients. Here we have the terror of the invaded, the unexpected facets of the invaders and a big, overarching scare. Is it real or not? But there are other items spicing up this read. There is consideration of faith, religion, and how far one will go in service of one’s beliefs. It is tough not to see the four horsemen imagery in the four invaders, but there are other, more subtle spices at play. A motif of

    permeates. There are sundry references to other novels that offer some food for thought. Tim O’Brien’s

    is one. There are others. Do we believe what we see or see what we believe?

    Image from Sleepyhollow.wikia.com

    This book will keep you guessing. Is this the end of the world? Or maybe just a potential end for some. Tremblay offers an explanation, but can we accept it? The ambiguity provides a constant tension from the first encounter to the last page. There may not be a mysterious voice telling you to get your hands on this one as soon as you can, and read it as quickly as possible. But whether you hear one or not, this will be one of the best reads of the summer and you do not really know how much time you have left.

    Review posted – 3/16/18

    Publication date – 6/26/18

    =============================

    Links to the author’s

    ,

    and

    pages

    He has a story collection coming out in 2019, and his next novel in 2020.

    - from Entertainment Weekly

    I sure hope Tremblay doesn’t

    to my review. But if he does, I hope he tapes it.

    -----In this

    put out by his publisher, Morrow, Tremblay talks mostly about two earlier novels, but gets into how this one came about, offering insight into his approach – 27:50

    -----Providence College – an audio interview at his alma mater -

    - 42:15

    -----Excerpts from a Locus Magazine interview – print -

    -----Audio interview –

    – June 16, 2017 – with Daniel Ford – 21:01

    -----Print interview at LitReactor.com -

    - 6/2/15 – by Keith Rawson

    -----

    is a Harper department that produces a video series in which someone whose opinion I value above all speaks about a handful of (usually) upcoming books. At -24.19 to -18:18, the queen of the show talks about

    , but I suggest you watch the entire vid. (about 34 minutes) You might find even more books to add to your ever-growing TBR.

    The Harper Book Queen included a bit on this book in her

    FB live broadcast from 7/31/18 - at 9:50

  • Debra

    4.5 stars

    When I first started reading this book, I thought if the horror films "The Strangers" and "The Cabin in the woods" had a baby - it would be this book! Of course, there are major differences (and plots) but still....

    A getaway to a cabin sounds like a perfect time away for Wen and her two dads. They are going to relax, she wants to catch some grasshoppers and they plan to enjoy the lake. But one day a man approaches Wen while she is busy catching her grasshoppers and tells her "None of wh

    4.5 stars

    When I first started reading this book, I thought if the horror films "The Strangers" and "The Cabin in the woods" had a baby - it would be this book! Of course, there are major differences (and plots) but still....

    A getaway to a cabin sounds like a perfect time away for Wen and her two dads. They are going to relax, she wants to catch some grasshoppers and they plan to enjoy the lake. But one day a man approaches Wen while she is busy catching her grasshoppers and tells her "None of what’s going to happen is your fault". and "Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they must. We need your help to save the world."

    So, what would you do? Four strangers show up on your doorstep, telling you to let them inside. They won’t hurt you, but you must let them in. Do you? Do you believe their stories about the apocalypse? Sounds crazy right? Who are these people? Why should you believe them? Would you let them in?

    To say that I thought this book was fantastic is an understatement. I loved the family. Wen is adorable and inquisitive. She wants to study grasshoppers, so she can save them if they get sick. She loves her Dads and has a wonderful home life with them. Andrew and Eric love Wen. They are affectionate and extremely likable. Tremblay has the reader caring so much for their characters that of course, we don't want those four-people coming into their lives and into their cabin. Our feelings for them make this book more powerful. I was invested in what happened to them individually and as a family.

    Tremblay sets the perfect mood for a home invasion book. The reader will care about this family. But wait! What about Leonard and his companions message? What is this save the world business? Why should the reader care about what the four-people invading this home have to say?

    I would have given this book 5 stars had it not been for the ending. That is not to say that the ending is bad or goes off the rails, I just wanted more. I felt as if I was left hanging -but then again, I feel as if that is how the characters in the book felt. They were faced with uncertainty, so the reader was left with the same emotion.

    I loved the tension in this book. I read most of it in one day. I had to keep turning the pages as I wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters I cared about. I also wanted to know if what the home invaders said was going to occur would occur. Were they telling the truth? Is this all real? So many questions!

    What does one call this book? Horror with a heart is what I will go with. I thought this book was very well-written. It evokes emotion and has a sense of dread and tension throughout.

    Highly recommend.

    I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss and William Morrow books in exchange for an honest review.

    See more of my reviews at

  • karen

    what. the. fuck. was. that?

    here’s the thing, ever since paul tremblay wrote

    and slipped in a character named “karen brissette” whose voice sounded an awful lot like the inside of my own (ghostless) head, i’ve been pestering him with, “am i gonna be in the next book, huh?? huh?? huh?? am i??"

    but i am so glad to not be in this one because YEESH.

    i don’t even know how to review it.

    it’s pretty telling that the synopsis on here and the back-cover copy of the ARC is basically, “

    what. the. fuck. was. that?

    here’s the thing, ever since paul tremblay wrote

    and slipped in a character named “karen brissette” whose voice sounded an awful lot like the inside of my own (ghostless) head, i’ve been pestering him with, “am i gonna be in the next book, huh?? huh?? huh?? am i??"

    but i am so glad to not be in this one because YEESH.

    i don’t even know how to review it.

    it’s pretty telling that the synopsis on here and the back-cover copy of the ARC is basically, “here are many specific details about what happens in the very very beginning, including

    , which is never done, followed by a vague mini-paragraph about the rest of the book. enjoy!”

    because going any further into trying to describe the plot will a) make the reviewer sound insane and b) ruin the thrill of discovery for the reader.

    i think the whole point of this book is to make the reader squirm. not with excess gore or violence or anything like that. but with anticipation.

    it’s a held-breath kind of book, where you need to know how it’s going to resolve more than anything, but you must resist flipping ahead, cheater! it's page after page of stubborn standoff and escalating tension and raising of stakes and questioning what's real and what's not and how does something like this end for anyone involved?? it will get under your skin, i promise you that.

    the plot isn’t the draw, because it’s less traditional plot than it is setting a scenario in motion and letting the characters bounce off its walls. the characters are

    of the draw - the happily vacationing family at the center of the situation are eric and andrew and their seven-year-old daughter wen, whom they adopted from china as a baby, and they are as loving and enviable a family as you could possibly want if you were looking to illustrate the “terrible things happening to good people” angle. which is precisely the goal here.

    in the calm before the storm, when andrew and eric are just being a goofy couple on the back porch - i remember reading that scene and thinking how well and naturally they were written; that their banter read like actual long-term couple banter with years of relationship history bubbling through subtextually, so it was even more effective once things started happening, because relatable characters being put in extraordinary circumstances naturally makes the reader question themselves - what would

    do in eric and andrew’s place. me, i would freak the fuck out. period. like so:

    this one plays it smart by never straying far from the realistic, in terms of character's responses. it sticks pretty close to the realm of ordinary parental bravery, not liam neeson-badassery, which - although wonderfully entertaining, is only an option for people with a very particular set of skills. eric and andrew do not have these skills. but they do their best.

    wen is also a great character. i don’t usually love kid-characters, but she’s written to be appealing and smart and occasionally bossy, as seven-year-old girls are, and seeing her struggle to process what is even going on and how to react contributes some excellent drama.

    and that right there is the draw - moreso than plot or characters is mood. the tension and the shivery feeling that never goes away the whole time you're reading this. what is the right choice when every choice is horrible? you can prepare for a lot of eventualities as a parent, from commonplace to very unlikely, but this one - no one's ever written a pamphlet to get you through this situation.

    the comparison to

    is a bit of a stretch. i mean, i guess they’re both kind of “bottle episodes,” so there’s a claustrophobic facet at play, except there’s little to no tension in ddw, and i couldn’t even locate a whiff of the horror or suspense it advertised. and i’m not trying to be a jerk about that book just because she’s never written me into one of her novels - it was okay, it was just a bit predictable and forgettable, while this one is nothing

    unpredictable horror and suspense.

    it's actually much much more like

    , which is not a book at all, but it definitely explores the same general themes and conflict, where a stranger has a story too outrageous to be true, but oh, man - what if it is? and trust, doubt, and self-preservation shift and rattle and sustain an intense ambiguity for both characters and reader/viewer for the whole damn ride.

    can't say more, but this one's a nailbiter.

    *********************************************

    i got lost on my way to instagram...

    *********************************************

    this was in

    for june. which is sad since i have already read and reviewed it, but at least i got some fun notes from paul tremblay's brain and some adorable booky stickers and a gimble for when my arms need to be amputated!!

  • Michelle

    Did you ever finish a book then realize you have absolutely no idea how to review it? Well, that is this book for me. I'm afraid of saying anything about the plot because of spoilers. I really think this is a book that is best to go into blind.

    First and foremost Paul Tremblay gave us characters that you immediately care for. Eric, Andrew, and their adopted daughter Wen are such a breath of fresh air. They feel so real and their interactions with one another were so natural and fluid. That's how

    Did you ever finish a book then realize you have absolutely no idea how to review it? Well, that is this book for me. I'm afraid of saying anything about the plot because of spoilers. I really think this is a book that is best to go into blind.

    First and foremost Paul Tremblay gave us characters that you immediately care for. Eric, Andrew, and their adopted daughter Wen are such a breath of fresh air. They feel so real and their interactions with one another were so natural and fluid. That's how he get's you though! He makes you care and because you care you just keep flipping those pages hoping beyond hope for the safety of this family.

    There is one scene in this book where I will admit that I cursed you Mr. Tremblay ....

    *Weeps*

    I think the ending of this book is going to get a lot of people talking. People are either going to love it or hate it. I found it to be tragically romantic if that is actually a thing.

    One last thing....COVER LOVE! It's gorgeous!

  • Carrie

    The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay is a tale of horror that doesn’t involve things like ghosts or demons but uses tension and suspense to keep a reader on the edge just waiting to see what will happen. With the threat of an apocalypse and intense need to protect family the fear and anticipation was oozing from the pages.

    The story begins with seven year old Wen out in front of the cabin that she is staying in with her two dads, Eric and Andrew, just doing what kids should do playi

    The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay is a tale of horror that doesn’t involve things like ghosts or demons but uses tension and suspense to keep a reader on the edge just waiting to see what will happen. With the threat of an apocalypse and intense need to protect family the fear and anticipation was oozing from the pages.

    The story begins with seven year old Wen out in front of the cabin that she is staying in with her two dads, Eric and Andrew, just doing what kids should do playing outdoors and trying to catch some grasshoppers. What a lovely scene, right? Well it doesn’t last long because along comes a stranger named Leonard who begins to chat with young Wen and then before you know it he’s joined by three others with weapons.

    Wen does what any frightened child should and runs to find her parents who in turn do their best to protect her from this group of strangers. Eric and Andrew do their best to protect each other and their daughter from the mysterious strangers who are claiming the end of the world is coming and the fate of every lies in their hands. What can one do in the middle of nowhere when feeling threatened?

    This story is one that just flies by and leaves you on the edge wondering just what is going to happen and what is real bringing the paranoia off the pages. I loved that the author touched on a different type of family and still showed just how much love was between them. There were also some pretty shocking twists to the story I wouldn’t have expected and if not for a rather abrupt end I may have rated higher, still a good story overall though.

    I received an advance copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.

    For more review please visit

  • Char

    THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD takes a look at an American family and asks what are you willing to do to protect them? But this book asks that question in an unique way- right before it rips your heart out and stomps all over it!

    Eric and Andrew take their daughter Wen on vacation to a remote cabin located on a lake in the woods of New Hampshire. It's been deliberately chosen because it has no cell service, no internet, no nothing. They want to spend this time together, uninterrupted as a fami

    THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD takes a look at an American family and asks what are you willing to do to protect them? But this book asks that question in an unique way- right before it rips your heart out and stomps all over it!

    Eric and Andrew take their daughter Wen on vacation to a remote cabin located on a lake in the woods of New Hampshire. It's been deliberately chosen because it has no cell service, no internet, no nothing. They want to spend this time together, uninterrupted as a family. Unfortunately, their dream vacation came to a screeching halt when a large man named Leonard wandered into their front yard and started talking to Wen. Soon thereafter, three more people join him and together, they enter the cabin. Things go so downhill from there, it's hard to even talk about. What happens after that? You'll have to read this book to find out!

    To give away any more about the plot would be spoilery, so I'm just going to talk about my thoughts and impressions and leave it at that. First, I love the way that Paul Tremblay writes families. He always provides honest insights and observations and as such, these parts of his writing are the ones that appeal to me the most. In this case, I loved 7 year old Wen SO MUCH, I just wanted to pick her up, give her a hug and go help her catch grasshoppers. Eric and Andrew were mysteries at first, but the one thing that soon became obvious about them was their love for Wen.

    When things started to go sideways, I was captivated. I had so many questions but I expected and trusted the author to lead me through. Was I right to invest my trust? Yes and no. This is a very slight and "in general" type of spoiler, but just in case:

    One other thing did bother me: after the group of strangers entered the cabin, the pacing slowed down a bit and there was a lot of talking without much

    explaining, if that makes any sense. Having chapters from different character's points of view helped me gain a little more insight as to what was going on in their heads, but I thought those portions were a little dragged out and for that, I deducted one star. (And to be honest, this issue is most likely mine, and mine alone.)

    THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD is now my favorite among the works of Paul Tremblay. The writing here was powerful and my heart is still healing from the major break it suffered while I was reading this book, and as such: I highly recommend it!

    *Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

  • Carol

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    I love that, when you pick up a Paul Tremblay novel, you never know exactly what you're getting yourself into until you finish the book. Each one of his novels are widely different in plot, but also wholly similar in their unsettling and deliciously compulsive nature. Each of his fans have their own personal favorite; for me, that's

    I love that, when you pick up a Paul Tremblay novel, you never know exactly what you're getting yourself into until you finish the book. Each one of his novels are widely different in plot, but also wholly similar in their unsettling and deliciously compulsive nature. Each of his fans have their own personal favorite; for me, that's

    . Regardless of which book you've taken to mostly, I think all who enjoy his books can agree that no one writes about the dark and gritty unseen moments of domestic life like he can. That said, I enjoyed

    , but it wasn't my favorite.

    The tension and building of suspense here is brilliant. I felt like a brittle bone; I was so rigid and engrossed while reading that if someone had come along and poked me with their pinky, I may have shattered. What is this book about you ask? I'd rather not say, partially because I'm still trying to process what exactly I just read. It's very hard to talk about any specifics here, because this is a very different book with a very different vibe and to spoil it would just be cruel. So instead of talking about the plot, I wanted to mention what caused me to connect with the characters, and a majority of it was the portrayal of Wen's two dads, Eric and Andrew. The author has done such a fantastic job of taking a homosexual couple and making them real and normal, as they should be.

    They bicker and have emotional moments and have to work through the terror of protecting their child just like all the rest of us, which was both beautiful and heart warming. I found this part to be necessary to offset all the dark spookie wookies going on here.

    I did enjoy the plot, but I think I'm middle of the fence on how the ending worked for me. It'll just be up to personal preference of the reader, which you'll understand once you reach the end of this one yourself and have a chance to decide. This was a gripping read that was entertaining and perfect to pick up when you have a chance to read it all in one sitting. Recommended to Tremblay fans and also to those looking for something new to spice up their reading rut. I'll be anxiously awaiting his next work and can't wait to see where he takes us!

  • Michael Hicks

    has a fantastic premise at its core, and if this story had been a novella or a 90-minute movie, I likely would have enjoyed it a whole lot more. Instead, Tremblay stuffs and stretches a simple yet awesome idea into a full-length novel that's both padded and repetitive to a frustrating degree.

    Without spoiling things,

    is a home invasion novel with apocalyptic overtones. Andrew and Eric, and their adopted Chinese daughter, Wen, are

    has a fantastic premise at its core, and if this story had been a novella or a 90-minute movie, I likely would have enjoyed it a whole lot more. Instead, Tremblay stuffs and stretches a simple yet awesome idea into a full-length novel that's both padded and repetitive to a frustrating degree.

    Without spoiling things,

    is a home invasion novel with apocalyptic overtones. Andrew and Eric, and their adopted Chinese daughter, Wen, are trapped inside their cabin, surrounded by four individuals who may or may not be totally insane.

    To kick things off, we're first introduced to Wen in a much too long opening chapter that sees her collecting grasshoppers before meeting the strange and large Leonard, the leader of the group of intruders. The second chapter involves a very protracted round of "Let us in" "No, we won't let you in!" round-robin between the intruders and Andrew and Eric. You discover pretty quickly that Tremblay only has a couple ideas with which to prop up

    , and a whole lot of pages are spent with repetitive dialogue as the characters go back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth some more, arguing the same freaking points over and over and over and over and over in laborious fashion. These back and forths exhausting - not for the characters, oh no, not at all, but for the readers. These characters spend nearly three hundred pages arguing endlessly around a "You must do this!" "No, we will never do that!" premise. It's fucking tiring. That it's further padded with excruciating details about every freaking bit of furniture and blanket in the house helps not a whit.

    Thankfully, these pointless circular exchanges are punctuated with some truly well drawn moments of violence and sequences of events that call into question the nature of this book's scenario as a whole. Unfortunately, Tremblay refuses to take a stand in regards to how much of his scenario is legitimate versus some of these characters simply being bugfuck crazy. You never know if the demands being placed upon Andrew and Eric have any sort of real meaning or not, and Tremblay argues both sides effectively but ultimately waffles on the credibility of the premise in order to be uber mysterioso. He wants his story to be both incredible and incredulous simultaneously, refusing to pick a side. Ultimately, this book comes off more like a Choose Your Own Adventure as told by a high school debate club, albeit one armed with some wicked home-made weaponry.

    In terms of home invasion horrors,

    has an excellent killer premise. In terms of execution, home invasion horror has been done far better in books like Jack Ketchum's

    and Brett McBean's

    . Or you could just save a few days entirely, read something else, and pop in a Blu-ray copy of

    .

    [Note: I received an advance copy of this title from the publisher, William Morrow, via Edelweiss.]

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