The Torment of Rachel Ames, by Jeff Gunhus is an enigma. Its mysterious ending left many readers wondering, but for me- it was perfect.
The story introduces you to Rachel, on her way to a writing retreat. She's literally a struggling author and looking to make something of herself. She became popular with the critics due to an odd situation with an instructor, but nothing she followed up with could maintain her success. That's not her real problem. She's seeing things in her rented cabin and a nearby local displays disturbing behavior, that causes Rachel to question her sanity and safety.
From a nosy neighbor to a huge, black man sweeping the forest, Rachel can't make head nor tail of what's happening around her. She can't remember things, she's struck with an immovable case of Writer's Block, and wolves along with monsterous birds are attacking. What can Rachel do for solitude and a peace of mind?
Let me just say, I didn't get this novella quite figured out- but I was close! It was baffling and funny to be honest, but not in a 'ha ha' way. At first I wanted to get mad because she was allowing things to take place that no one in their right mind would allow. Then I wanted her to just take some steps that could clear things up immediately- but she didn't! Then when things began to make sense, I was like, "Ahhh-ha! That shoulda happened!"
There is one part where I nearly cried- no lie. My heart breaks when situtiaons, like the one in this story; you'll know it. Anyone with a heart would take on The Feels, but I can't say much more- just know it's heart-wrenching. Gunhus has a gift for description and emotion. He writes with precision and gives only what's necessary to keep the reader hooked, eager to know what's coming next. Because of Rachel's reactions to situation, I continuously grew upset, but that's what interested (frustrated) me, yet kept me turning the pages. I love that with a book.
It really is hard to say much more without giving SPOILERS! What I can say is The Torment of Rachel Ames is a story with a much deserved ending. And if you're lucky enough to see it coming, you'll probably react like I did: So sad, but deserving....
I'm off to the next read. Have an amazing day!
*Lost Gods is next.
The Torment of Rachel Ames
Seven Guns Press
November 10, 2015
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