In her powerful essay collection Night Rooms, Gina Nutt uses the horror film genre as a way of reflecting on and working through a variety of real-life grief and trauma. Written in fragmentary vignettes of poetic prose, each chapter moves back and forth between art and life – zooming in on iconic moments in horror films and connecting those scenes and sensations to everyday tragedies: grieving the abrupt loss of loved ones or processing the trauma left behind by abuse and violence, dark shadows that always linger in the periphery like the masked man on the streets of Haddonfield, IL.
Through these beautifully written fragmentary narratives, Gina Nutt weaves together a sort of terrifying House of Mirrors where the horror depicted in fiction blurs and bleeds into the horror of life. Reader and writer become The Final Girl, intent on making it out alive.
Fans of horror films and/or fans of memoirs such as Bluets by Maggie Nelson or In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado will enjoy the lucid writing and storytelling in this book.
Night Rooms interrogates those aching moments that haunt the heart in the dead-end hours of night, yet it refuses to let terror have the last word. It compels one to continue fighting, to live to see the light of the next day.
Hands down, one of my favorite books of 2021!