Do you ever finish a book and think “what have I just read?” Because that’s exactly the effect that Follow Me To Ground has had on me! While perusing Goodreads reviews, I noted that many reviews mentioned how spooky and unnerving the book was, but I’m wondering if I’ve missed something?
Ada was not born of this world but was made and born from the Ground, as her father was, and is not quite human in the respect that she ages ever so slowly, has the ability to heal people and actually has to grow her genitalia when she meets her “one”. He father disapproves as he says the young man in question is sick and “sick is sick” but can’t be healed. Also her father turns in to an unspecified beast of an evening and hunts animals.
The descriptions of the healings are intense and vivid, not at all for the faint hearted, which I did enjoy as I do like a bit of gore in my horror novels, however the layout of this book struck me as odd; instead of speech marks when characters are talking, the speech is hyphenated. Something I couldn’t quite figure out, but just went along with it as I thought that was just me being pedantic and picky. The breaks between chapters, I guess you would call them, are from the villagers points of view and are focused on Ada and her father and what they do. You’re able to build up a picture of what the village thinks of these odd two and that is that some villagers believe in them and are appreciative of their healings, while others believe them to be an oddity and a pair to avoid at all costs.
The ending was also an oddity in itself; Ada’s human lover (whom she gave a good old push to and left him to the Ground so he could rise to be more like her) had a child with his sister and years down the line, the sister dies and the baby who is now a grown man comes calling on Ada to learn about the fate of his father. And here the book ends; with the son walking in to the garden where I assume the lover is rising, or has risen, from the Ground and the son’s life is now at risk.
The cover is beautiful and I had high hopes for this short story (195 pages makes it the perfect quick read) but on the whole I just didn’t “get” it. Critics write it’s a book of beauty and horror, and unlike anything else you’ll read, so I really feel like I’m missing the point here. It’s something I think I’ll have to pick up again later down the line and re-read, but I’m sure it would be a wonderful title for a book club as it’s something a set of people can work out together. But in my eyes in the first instance, sadly, it’s a bit of a miss for me, but I’m sure there are plenty who will appreciate it.