‘The Possession of Mr Cave’ begins with the main character, Terence Cave, father, widower and antiquarian describing the day his son Reuben dies in the most tragic of circumstances, giving into peer pressure by bullies, he falls to his death, his last words to his father being ‘don’t go’, from that point begins Terence’s obsession with his daughter, Bryony, Reuben’s twin sister and his slow descent into possessing Bryony and everything in her life.
Terence Cave is a man who has loss in his life, the suicide of his mother when he was three years old, the death of his wife during a burglary when the twins were babies and finally the death of Reuben, Terence has always felt he has been able to cope with his loss but the story progresses with flashbacks, you realise that Terence is not coping, he has never coped, he has simply buried his grief away and focused everything on Bryony, whilst ignoring Reuben.
The story of Terence is delivered brilliantly, you see his slow descent into madness, at times, witty and humorous, you either love or hate Terence, and you are frustrated by his actions towards his daughter, when it is painfully obvious that if he spoke to Bryony instead of fighting her, the situation would have improved. This is a book for everyone you are aware of Terence’s flaws, everything returns to one thing and that is love, his love for his daughter, and despite how dark the story becomes, it is still an important part of the book and it is one sure thing that Terence clings to, everything he does, it’s because he loves Bryony.
There are clues throughout the book on how the story will end, which was excellent to read, my realisation concerning a character upset me and made the story more poignant.
Matt Haig’s two previous books, ‘The Last Family in England’ and ‘The Death Father’s Club’ (the latter being my favourite of the two) showed how wonderful a writer Matt Haig is and ‘The Possession of Mr Cave’ shows how his writing continues to go from strength to strength.