Cover Image: The Graveyard Apartment

The Graveyard Apartment

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Member Reviews

I find in Japanese Horror and Mysteries, two genres I quite admire, a certain delicacy of approach, which may be cultural. I've not tried to identify a particular story as Japanese based on this delicacy of approach [although that would be intriguing: reading a story without knowledge of its authorship to see if I could identify its culture]. Nonetheless,  that "delicacy" and "order" is clearly apparent in this delightful supernatural horror. 


"The Graveyard Apartment " is exactly as it sounds: a brand-new eight-story apartment complex,  constructed with staggered balconies overlooking the dormant cemetery overseen by a Buddhist temple.  Quiet and parklike, the cemetery is suffused with cherry blossoms and a multiplicity of flowering plants,  providing a secure and peaceful nook apart from Tokyo's overcrowded urbanity.


Or so it should be: but then why are the condo apartments selling so inexpensively? Why are so many empty, and the current inhabitants moving out? And what is going on in the Basement? It's not natural....and what about the long-ago plans, long since defunct, for an underground shopping complex at the rail station? The new family are about to discover....


Subtle Horror creeps like little cat feet, all the more terrifying for being invisible: an excellently written exercise in Quiet Horror [think, as comparisons to Western Horror,  Henry James' "Turn of the Screw," Susan Hill's "The Woman In Black."] Subtle Horror, in the end, is so much more effectively nightmare-inducing.
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I didn't know what to expect going into this book. I knew about it being translated from Japanese. I knew that it was originally published in the 1980s. Other than that, I like to be surprised by books. I don't normally read the synopsis for books because they tend to give too much of the story away. The same can be said for film trailers. I don't watch them because they show some pivotal plot points that can ultimately give the story away. Sorry about that little rant, guys. Let's dive into this review.

A terrifying tale of a young family who move into an apartment building next to a graveyard and the horrors that are unleashed on them. The cover caught my eye, so I had to give this one a go. What's not to like about a graveyard near an apartment? Well, I'm about to tell you. 

This book starts off on a great note, then it slows to a crawl. The book kept talking about the basement of the apartment building. Weird things start to happen to the occupants, and the longer the couple stays there, the more likely they are to get trapped. Okay. So, the apartment is occupied by several people, but as the story progresses people leave one by one. The book points towards the basement time and time again. 

This is very much an atmospheric horror story. The author throws out a possibility of why strange things are occurring, but it's a typical red herring. Surprise! The story ends up in the basement where we are left with a clunky, yet terrifying conclusion. I say it's clunky because of the way the antagonists are depicted. The author bounces between two different things, which left me scratching my head. The whole premise is awesome, though. I'm not saying any more about the ending. It was probably lost in translation.

The author builds the tone and dread really well. I like the writing style, but there is almost too much filler. I think it would have worked better as a novella, though. 

Would I read this author again? That is a yes. I liked this book.


3/5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐
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This excellent haunted house novel (translated from Japanese) takes place in an apartment building near a graveyard. It builds slowly, but doesn't pull any punches, and the ending's a kicker. Family dynamics, money troubles, and marital secrets combine to make this an engrossing read.
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This was really a very spooky tale. A family moves into an almost empty apartment house next door to a cemetery, and their lives turn horrific. I love stories with creepy basements and this one is wonderfully different -- the house and basement aren't crumbling Victorian ghost-traps; they're state-of-the art modern spaces. Nothing could go wrong in such a dwelling, right? Well, things do go wrong very quickly, and the story turns deliciously disturbing almost immediately. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a truly frightening read.
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Mariko Koike is one of the most popular mystery and horror writers in Japan.  Thomas Dunne Books brings an English translation of “The Graveyard Apartment” by Deborah Bolivar Boehm to a new audience so that the writer’s trademark thrills can be read in the United States for the first time.  I was happy to have a review copy of the novel and eager to experience the chills that have thrilled Koike’s fans for the first time.
 
The young couple were looking for a place to raise their daughter and the new apartment complex seemed almost too perfect.  The only drawback was the location.  The building was set next to an old graveyard that was kept by local monks as a memorial to the dead.  It was this location, in fact, that made the purchase of the apartment possible for the couple.  Everything else was perfect.  Misao’s husband, Teppei, thought that this was the place to start a brighter future.  Misao, however, cannot get past the grisly graveyard that lies next to the building.  Even worse was the basement which seemed more of a tomb than the foundation of the building.
 
Misao tried telling herself that she was just being paranoid.  When her daughter was mysteriously injured while playing in the basement, the dread she felt seemed to become a physical presence in her life.  The other residents felt it as well as the building grew increasingly empty over the next several months.  Misao knew she had to do something before the building swallowed her family into its darkness and began to explore the history of the apartment building.  As the dark forces in the building grow stronger, Misao frantically searches for the secret that can save her family and set them free from the graveyard apartment forever.
 
“The Graveyard Apartment is a quiet horror story.  Koike keeps the story building slowly and depends on a heavy atmosphere to create the mounting horror.  The reader can feel the ghosts of the graveyard but Koike keeps them at bay for most of the story.  The story is wrapped in an overriding sense of dread that grows as the story progresses.  Koike handles this with a deft hand so that it seems ready to suffocate the reader but never fully takes the reader into its dark embrace.  This novel is not a quick read and it takes some work by the reader to wade through the somewhat oppressive narrative at times.  Koike wields a heavy hand in this story but it works in the end.  The story is rewarding for those who are willing to put in the work to get through this heavy novel that seems much longer than it really is.
 
“The Graveyard Apartment” is not an easy novel to read but it is on written in a unique voice that will appeal to those who like their horror subtle and built upon a layered story.  There are plenty of things that go bump in the night in this novel but they all go softly along the edges of the story until the end.  Fans of extreme horror will not get into this book at there is little here that gets in the readers face.  This is a subtle story that builds slowly until the explosive ending.  Koike brings a fresh voice to horror in America and, while this is not the perfect novel, gives an entertaining new take on the genre.  There is a lot to like in this novel for those readers who do not mind a slow developing tale and I look forward to more from Koike in the future.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for this review copy.  The Graveyard Apartment is available now.
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Brand-New Luxury Apartments for sale. Enjoy a lush green-belt view . All apartments priced to sell.,

When Teppei, Misao, and four-year-old Tomau find a nicely priced, well-appointed apartment, they are eager to move in. The only drawback is that the apartment looks out on the cemetery next door. From their first day occupying their new apartment, odd things begin to happen. Their little white finch lies on his back in a feather filled cage,  his cause of death mysterious. Their first instinct is to blame it on the dog, Cookie. But dark forces are at hand here, and it doesn't take long for the adults to realize something is terribly wrong. 


The Graveyard Apartment is a thrilling new horror story from Japanese writer Mariko Koike, translated by Deborah Boliver Boehm. There is a particular quality I've been noticing in Japanese horror, an edgy creepiness that gives me shivers and sticks with me after finishing. This book did not disappoint. The couple is hoping to rid themselves of the guilt they feel over the suicide of Teppei's first wife upon learning of their affair. In Japanese horror, the guilty are avenged in mysterious ways. Every uncanny event raises the fear factor, until everyone is gone from the building and the little family is alone, 

To say more would spoil the suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and recommend it to horror fans looking for a new sub-genre.  If you liked "The Ring," you'll love this.
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This book was a delightfully creepy thriller that kept me turning pages long into the night!  A family moves into a a modern  apartment that happens to be situated  next to a graveyard and crematorium.  Right away creepy things begin happening, most of them culminating from the apartment building's basement, a room that can only be accessed from an elevator.  The Graveyard Apartment was a fun-to-read horror delight.
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Regrettably not for me. I didn't appreciate the writing style, and I just couldn't identify with the characters. I recognize this is a re-release and it comes highly recommended from several sources, but I just couldn't identify with the tone of voice.
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Teppei, Misao, their daughter, Tamao, and the family pet move into a newly built apartment ready to start their lives anew.
Happiness and peace do not come easily when minor disturbances start to happen that the family cannot ignore. The graveyard located nearby has the tenants wondering if their living arrangements aren't a dream come true, but a nightmare ready to be unleashed.

The premise for this story is what motivated me to request it. I picked it up and put it down many a time and with the New Year I decided I was going to force myself to stick with it.

The fact that I had to force myself should have been a precursor to what my final take on this read would be, but stubborn me, I just had to finish it.

It was boring. This book. This family. The building itself. It wasn't just slow, it was uninteresting. 

I don't know if the language barrier played a factor in the English version or not, but the story was just not good. The backstory was told by the characters as if reciting a grocery list. 

The daughter, who seemed to know more about the building, courtesy of her dead pet, was the most notable character although she had limited talk time. Her parents tended to speak for her or not believe what she was telling.

The "things" behind the so-called horror weren't developed enough for any true scary things to occur.

Maybe it was the time it was written (in the 1980's) or maybe the reviews for this title are slightly elevated for the sake of it being gifted, but I would not recommend it whatsoever.
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