Title: Honour Thy Father
Author: Lesley Glaister
Genre: Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 192
TW: Child Abuse, Sexual Assault, Incest
This book is creepy as fuck. It’s more graphic than the last gothic novel I read (We Have Always Lived in the Castle) but I think they’d make good companion reads. They’re both about emotionally stunted sisters who have completely withdrawn from society. At the beginning of the story Milly and her sister Agatha are old women, but they fight and gripe at each other like little kids. They are accompanied in their decaying, isolated house by their highly peculiar twin sisters and Agatha’s disabled son, who is locked in the basement and treated like an animal.
Milly is an unreliable narrator and has always been jealous of her sister. Their mother committed suicide and their dad kept them isolated from other people in order to ‘protect’ them from corruption. The book takes place over one restless night where Milly delves into her family’s past and we learn about the horrors her father perpetuated on his wife and children.
I think it’s safe to say that none of the characters in this book were likable. I felt for them at times but then every time I was reminded of the treatment of the disabled family member they made me sick. Everybody suffers in this novel, but what happens to George is particularly hard to read about. Even though this book was short it was immersive and I really got the feeling of time passing. The storyline was almost unbearably sad and I kept thinking about how these characters had chances to get away but their fear of their father and his manipulative tactics locked them in place, even after he was dead.
This book was a little slow to get into but after a while I couldn’t put it down. It’s a wonderful combination of domestic suspense and more traditional horror. There are images in this book that are going to be tough to get out of my head, but that’s only because the writing is so vivid and haunting. I felt like I was in that decaying house with the main characters and I felt the hopelessness and resignation of lives squandered and spent in fear and isolation.