As a bookworm, I take pride in the fact that I can usually say, "Eh, the book was better." After watching the trailer for Netflix's new thriller, I'm not sure if that will be the case Heard and seen things. The film already looks like it will be faster than the book it was inspired by. All things cease to appear by Elizabeth Brundage. While the trailer immediately adds to the tension and mystery, the book takes a rather unconventional approach to weaving the eerie story. If you are curious Heard and seen thingsIf you join Netflix on April 29th, here's what you will learn about the book version.
The Clare family
All things cease to appear At the center is an old New York State farmhouse with a gruesome past. George Clare claims his wife was murdered and he needs someone to call for help. Catherine Clare is spotted in her bedroom with an ax in her head; She had been home alone all day with her 3-year-old daughter, Franny. Who Murdered Catherine? Well, the book won't tell you because it frustrates jumping back and forth between multiple timelines. George is questioned by the police before jumping over town with Franny the next morning.
The Hale family
The book jumps to Cal and Ella Hale, who live on their old family dairy farm. They have three sons: Eddy, Wade and Cole. Life isn't great, but they make the most of it. Like other farms in the region, they have gotten into tough times. Cal takes out his frustrations with his family and turns to drinking and abusive behavior to cope with them. Ella knows her husband is not loyal, and frankly, she doesn't seem to care much. She knows that she is a good mother and that her sons will grow up to be good men.
When life becomes too much, Cal dies by suicide and kills his wife by leaking gas into her bedroom. When the bodies are discovered, the brothers are swept away to live with their uncle in the nearby town. The boys don't seem to be giving up the house they love. They come by the house and offer to do chores around the farm. Catherine (yes, who is later murdered) finds it incredibly helpful, and the boys find comfort in being back on the family farm. Cole becomes her babysitter and entertains Franny while the two older boys do the harder physical work. They spend a lot of time with Catherine and make her feel useful and wanted.
Get to know Catherine
The story jumps back to Catherine's perspective. As a city girl, she finds it incredibly difficult to settle in the 200 acres of farmland that she bought. She feels uncomfortable around the house but cannot figure out why. Creepy instances abound; Chills run down her spine when she walks through certain areas, she finds another person (Ella Hale) rings near the sink while washing dishes, and she sees another woman's reflection in the window. The reader learns that George knows about the house's tragic past, but Catherine does not.
Get to know George
George appears to be a pathetic, helpless widow, but through a series of flashbacks, you discover that this is not entirely the case. He lights Catherine at every turn. In fact, George and Catherine had split up when she found out she was pregnant, but they got married to "do the right thing". He forges a letter and his qualifications to get his college job. He becomes engaged to Willis, a 19-year-old from California. He sexually and verbally abuses Willis and at some point cuts all of her hair just to gain control of her. He is an unfaithful, manipulative sociopath.
The terrifying conclusion
It's a snowy day that Catherine finds the courage to leave George. She packs some suitcases and Franny into the car and then cannot drive out of the driveway. Catherine goes back dejected and quickly loses steam with her entire plan. She admits to George that she was about to leave when he asks about the suitcases. From there, George is believed to murder Catherine, drug Franny with sleeping pills, and go to work the next day.
The story ends with an epilogue years in the future. Franny is a surgical apprentice in medical school and hates life. She sleeps with a married man, rents a small, sterile apartment and does not have much zest for life. She receives a call that her father's real estate agent has sold the old farmhouse and that Franny needs to clean up her personal belongings. George is an old man at this point, blind from diabetes and cannot help at all. When Franny steps back into the house, she feels a shiver and a feeling of calm at the same time. She feels at home. She makes her rounds of town and the book awkwardly ends with Cole and Franny making out.
A total of All things cease to appear burns slowly. It has some great bones, just like George says in the trailer for Heard and seen things, but the story could actually lead to a better movie.