A twelve-year-old boy’s father and other family “friends” have built a chamber in the family basement to contain his mother when she “turns”. One night, things go wrong.
A coming of age story involving a nightmarish family secret. Themes of “men” and “becoming a man” loom large. Good effort, mixed results.
Fracassi hooked me early:
I never heard Mother screaming in the night. I knew she was, it was obvious. I’d seen her with the cameras. Father had made me watch when I was young.
But his later reliance on convenient plotting disappointed:
After a few minutes, I went to the couch that sat against the wall facing the steel door. I sat down, then laid down. I was still very tired. It was the middle of the night. I fell asleep.
The ambiguous ending dovetails with the theme of changes, but didn’t compensate for the low emotional stakes. I never felt invested in the narrator or his plight, only curious. When the ending failed to satisfy said curiosity, it reduced the story to an interesting thematic exercise.