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The Other

The OtherThe Other by Thomas Tryon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I rented the movie adaptation of THE OTHER back in the 1990s and found it so powerful it stayed with me ever since, which made it interesting to read the novel already knowing its big secret. This allowed me to see the tricks Tryon uses to pull it off, while at the same time enjoying the story all over again.

The novel is spectacular. Tryon’s prose is exceptional, as is his ability to immerse the reader in the lives of young Niles, his twin Holland, their seemingly cursed family, which has been plagued by tragedy for years, and the nosy, suspicious, and dimwitted townspeople around them. The structure is truly extraordinary, its plentiful twists and surprises doled out with an expert’s hand. It’s hard to believe this is a first novel.

Modern readers used to today’s fast-paced thrillers might find the languid pace of THE OTHER off-putting, but the novel rewards your attention and perseverance. The ending is powerful and perfect. Those last four pages…holy moly!

I’d been meaning to read THE OTHER for ages and I’m so glad I finally did! I can see why it was such a blockbuster bestseller back in the day (“Six Months on The New York Times Best Seller List,” screams the cover of my Fawcett paperback) and such an influential work of horror that it, along with ROSEMARY’S BABY and THE EXORCIST, kickstarted the genre as we know it today.

If you haven’t read THE OTHER, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It has become one of my favorite novels.

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