Thursday, June 28, 2012

Who needs ghosts when you've got this place?

Michaele Lockhart's new novel, Hoarding Lies, Keeping Secrets (Steel Cut Press, 2012) had several profound effects on me:

First, I will never again allow more than a few days worth of newspapers to stack up in our house. Same goes for magazines, including my treasured trunk full of ... well, I'm not sayin'.

Second, I'm getting rid of all the old half-full cans of paint that I've kept in our garage, just for touch-up paint jobs around the house that never get done. Also into the dumpster: the moldering cardboard boxes I've kept, in case we move someday. (Probably, we never will.)

And third, I will never have a house with a basement.

Lockhart's novel takes us inside the world of a once-prominent Texas family now reduced to a decrepit mansion filled with a hoarder's dusty, rat- and insect-infested treasures. The story of a grotesquely dysfunctional family, it is also a keenly observed psychological study, and a novel where the secrets keep on coming, even after you think nothing worse could be hidden.

Hoarding Lies, Keeping Secrets is both spellbinding and gritty, in a way that will leave you wanting to take a long shower afterwards. I recommend it strongly -- the book, then the shower.

-- Tom Walker, co-author, Contrary Creek.

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