The Possession of Mr Cave: Reviews

The Possession of Mr Cave is a compelling book; a page-turner in the best sense of the word, in that most of the suspense comes from character. Terence is genuinely repellent from the first – in essence, a self-involved middlebrow snob – yet he remains oddly sympathetic to the last, even as he pursues his ugly and eventually murderous quest. Bryony is wonderfully ambiguous, her true nature veiled from the reader by her father’s mixed adoration and mistrust. John Burnside, The Guardian

chilling, riveting, heartbreaking … This is after all a novel about twins, and Haig skillfully weaves the twinning of the living and the dead, the good and the bad, the known and the unknown throughout. … Terence’s tragedy reads like a nightmare that leaves a parent shaking in the dark. We might want to see ourselves as more reasonable, able to allow our children their fierce independence. … Haig got under my skin — while reading “The Possession of Mr. Cave,” I kept rising to check on my sons asleep in their beds.Victoria Redel, The New York Times

A devastating portrait of one man’s relentless self-destruction. The Times

Cave’s grotesque zeal commands the reader’s almost voyeuristic attention, and delivers and enthralling addition to the literature of demented protagonsists. James Urquhart, The Independent

A dark, compelling read. The Times

Haig shapes his narrative well, and intently, with smooth flashbacks and a creeping crescendo of menace. There are some images of strange beauty: a horse, galloping through the streets of York in the witching hour; a boy, his hood up, only his cheekbones lit by the streetlamps. His writing is picked and clean, with flashes of bleak insight: ‘Gods have come and gone, beliefs and ideolgies have been fought on blood-drenched battlefields, and we are still trapped inside the same mysterious lives.’ … Haig’s success is that he has written a sleek, enthralling novel that tries to wrestle with ths human condition … Literary Review

The Possession of Mr Cave is very visual. You see the father falling into his madness. The story is told in the form of a letter to Byrony from her father Terence Cave. It’s a disturbing tale of a father going over the edge, of his obsession to keep his daughter safe and becomming her biggest danger. Haig writes compellingly, even if you’re not into dark drama. You’re pulled into the story out of a macabre fascination to find out what happens. Don’t expect a happy ending. The story would make a great Hitchcock-like film, using suspense to drive the plot and characters. Gabriella Pantera, Hollywood Today

The work can be read as the confessions of a middle-class intellectual who considers anything beyond his classical art, music, and literature-based comfort zone to be uncivilized. But it’s also about the frustrations of an aging man who feels alienated by today’s youth culture. British novelist Haig is no stranger to the theme of family tragedy, though his previous works were told from the perspective of a Labrador canine (The Last Family of England) and an 11-year-old boy (The Dead Fathers Club). Haig’s use of metaphors to reflect the protagonist’s emotional state is guaranteed to stimulate the reader’s imagination. Thoroughly capturing a father’s desperation, fear, pain, and madness over family fatalities, Haig is a good interpreter of the human soul. Recommended for both public and academic libraries. Victor Or, Library Journal

a tense and absorbing novel, seeing Haig skilfully and sensitively construct the dissolving sanity of his narrator and the mounting tension of his narrative. Beth Underdown, Aesthetica

The Possession of Mr Caveby Matt Haig is an unusual novel. … it deals in an original way with the theme of bereavement. The inner voice of Haig’s main character, Mr Cave, draws the reader into his mental processes of grieving. Haig introduces supernatural elements by use of a different font. Hemaintains a tight rein on the narrative pace, thereby excluding melodrama. This is a highly original and well written text. The Portico

There is a certain fascination in this bizarre tale of unhappiness and tragedy and the writing is very effective. Yorkshire Post

Haig effectively brings readers into Cave’s unstable interior world, asking them to inhabit this closed-off, deeply unreliable space along with their narrator. Sometimes the intensity of the novel can feel claustrophobic, but the interiority only serves to underscore Haig’s compelling, incessant exploration of a damaged mind slowly consuming itself and everything around it. Norah Piehl,

This piquant but remarkably unsettling tale centers on a father/daughter relationship that is fraught with difficulties and, in the end, goes horribly wrong. Michael Leonard, Curled Up with a Good Book

The first-person narration’s loss of control plunges the reader into the chilling inexorability of a madness that, at every step, seems perfectly reasonable. Watermark

A thrilling read and beautifully written, I raced through this novel and want to read his others. Newark Advertiser