The most amazing thing about Jac Jemc's chilling new novel is how effortlessly
her exquisite prose lends itself to the terrifying world she creates for
newlyweds Julie and James. No sleight of hand here. Where others tend to
rely on shocking the reader into a state of terror, Jemc (pronounced Gems) has
the ability to unnerve without breaking a sweat, seamless as a dream. Or a harrowing
A chilling literary horror novel about a young couple haunted by their newly purchased home
Jac Jemc's The Grip of It tells the eerie story of a young couple haunted by their new home. Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move prompted by James's penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between lake and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture 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 bruises; mold spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbors and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julie and James.
Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, inhabiting the bodies and the relationships we cherish.
About the Author
Jac Jemc is the author of My Only Wife, a finalist for the 2013 PEN / Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award, and the short story collection A Different Bed Every Time. She has been the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Professional Development Grants, and in 2014 was named one of 25 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex and one of Newcity's Lit 50 in Chicago. She recently completed a stint as the writer in residence at the University of Notre Dame and currently teaches at Northeastern Illinois University and StoryStudio Chicago, as well as online at Writers & Books and the Loft Literary Center, and she is the web nonfiction editor for Hobart.