Amanda has a normal, peaceful, and stable life. Her architecture career is going well, she and her husband love each other, and she’s befriended a stray dog. Then a strange noise starts to irritate Amanda and Ed in their loft. Amanda becomes irritable, finds herself doing and saying things that are out of character for her. She dreams of a woman who looks like her childhood imaginary friend but calls herself Naamah. She takes a quiz about demonic possession and starts to wonder, but not seriously enough.
What is Come Closer about?
This short read (less than 200 pages) is about the demonic possession of a woman named Amanda. It’s a possession that goes unnoticed, with her friends and husband and even doctors simply accepting the changes in her behavior as her adult personality emerging. Even though she finds herself reading about demons and consulting a “spiritual adviser” she does so without any real intent to solve her problem as Naamah begins to consume her life.
This horror novel is shorter and thereby develops less strictly along the lines of horror. But the creeping sense that something is wrong, that Amanda knows something is wrong, does build up. I think that length would have led to more horror being included, but what is included is what’s needed for the important developments in the possession.
Yes, the entire plot focuses on the changes in Amanda’s life as she is taken over by the demon Naamah. As the book is so short, I think it’s smart to keep all plot points related to that.
Tropes: Well Established
The novel does nothing ground breaking. It follows the usual tropes of a demonic possession story: Amanda becomes mean and unexpected behavior becomes her hallmark. The demon doesn’t really have a reason other than selfishness to hold onto her. Things escalate in the usual way going from tiny events dismissed by everyone to genuine danger.
Personally I have never read or watched a demonic possession story that focused so heavily on the actual victim to the point of showing their perspective. I found it incredibly interesting the way the protagonist describes being trapped behind the power of Naamah in moments that she wouldn’t do the things the demon demands. I was very absorbed in the story as well, reading it very quickly (which was helped by its short length).
The length of the novel meant that some things escalate very quickly. I also wasn’t entirely sure about the presence of a variety of demon books. First, when attempting to purchase an architecture book for a project, Amanda finds she’s purchased a book about demonic possession that plays a relatively large role in the story. Considering how Naamah goes out of her way to prevent Amanda from doing any more demonic research, and how Amanda didn’t really start to suspect something was wrong until the second time she read the book… Why did she purchase it?
I think that at one point it’s implied there’s another presence. Perhaps I misread it, but in a bookstore Amanda hears a voice that ends up leading her to a book that has information she needs. A book that Naamah refuses to let her read or buy. Naamah wouldn’t have led Amanda to that book, right? I thought the implication was that there was a benevolent presence that was making its last attempt at saving Amanda. But this is never explored or discussed.
Naamah is somewhat presented by a source Amanda reads, but other than that there’s very little exposition. I suppose it makes sense that Naamah isn’t very invested in explaining to Amanda why she was chosen for possession. But nonetheless, Amanda repeatedly asks why she was chosen and how she “let” Naamah in, which is what the demon claims happened. An explanation is never given and by the end of the novel I was frustrated by the lack of exposition.
I did enjoy this. It’s not super creepy, and the violence is only described as necessary. The creeping intensity of the possession is well done and I appreciate that even though Amanda begins to seek answers, she never quite believes she’s possessed. Nobody else immediately jumps to her being possessed because the symptoms don’t involve anything outlandish. It certainly makes the idea of possession seem more realistic!