It’s rare that a book with unlikeable characters can hold my attention. Not only did Rooms hold my attention but it kept my nose buried in its pages for an entire weekend. Rooms is a well-paced novel that feels absolutely real even though two of its main characters are ghosts. Not Casper the Friendly Ghost variety but not the Poltergeist variety either. More the invisible, silent roommate variety. Richard Walker has just died and his estranged family has come back to clean house. Alice and Sandra, bound to the house since their deaths, pay witness to the family’s comings and goings, commenting, reminiscing, and arguing as the days go by.
Oliver’s imagery throughout the novel is exquisite, but what appealed to me most was the mystery. Each character in this novel is haunted, not by ghosts, but by events from their pasts. I may not have liked any of the characters but I was curious about them. Oliver does not disappoint.