The Man on the Ceiling

The Man on the Ceiling

by Melanie Tem, Steve Rasnic Tem

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Two interwoven memoirs of love, loss, and family with a haunted, frightening edge.

In 2000, American Fantasy Press published an unassuming chapbook titled The Man on the Ceiling. Inside was a dark, surreal, discomfiting story of the horrors that can befall a family. It was so powerful that it won the Bram Stoker Award, International Horror Guild Award, and World Fantasy Award--the only work ever to win all three. Now, Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem have re-imagined the story, expanding on the ideas to create a compelling work that examines how people find a family, how they hold a family together despite incomprehensible tragedy, and how, in the end, they find love.

Loosely autobiographical, The Man on the Ceiling has the feel of a family portrait painted by Salvador Dali, where story and reality blend to find the one thing that neither can offer alone: truth.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940149282708
Publisher: Crossroad Press
Publication date: 03/28/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 259 KB

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Man on the Ceiling 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
jvalka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very unusual sort of book, this "fictional memoir" tells the story of Steve and Melanie, two writers who have adopted a number of children, one of whom died tragically. The stream of consciousness narrative drifts between the two writers, who muse upon death, the art of storytelling, and family relationships.More than once the authors tell the reader that "everything we're telling you is true," which makes this book strangely compelling and unsettling. Although this is labeled as "horror fiction," the horror is rooted in real life and the pain of losing someone you love. The "man on the ceiling" of the title seems to be a sort of grim reaper, always present if not always seen. The writing is elegant and lyrical, creating a dream-like fluidity that feels natural and effortless. Readers expecting a traditionally structured novel will be frustrated, but if you're willing to go with it this is a wise, rewarding book.
teharhynn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not at all what I expected. I didn't find it worthy of being in the Horror section. I think it was more a strange memoir about their lives and raising adopted children.
alexdallymacfarlane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an odd little book: a biographical, explorative discussion of the imagination, of the story we build in our lives to explain various anxieties. The un-marked balance between fact and fiction occasionally distracted me, despite the book's assertion that everything is "truth". The self-involved nature of the book (the authors writing about their imaginations) sometimes distracted me too. But, most of the time, I found it a compelling form of narrative, fascinatingly interstitial. It is definitely worth reading for those who want to explore the many shapes a novel can take, the many aspects it can tug into itself. Genre lines are refreshingly absent.
titania86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Man on the Ceiling is a sort of autobiography of Steve and Melanie Tem. They have adopted many children over the years and care very much for them. They try to create a space in the world for each of their children. This novel really blurs lines all over the place: fantasy and reality, the mundane and adventure, fantasy and horror genres. When I started this novel, I was expecting a fantastical story complete with monsters and fairies. I was surprised to learn that all of the fantasy and horror were wrapped up in the normal lives of a family. Everyone can relate to the struggles and triumphs of this family. Their horrors are our horrors. Their adventure is our adventure. I was genuinely surprised at how many fundamental truths were presented and developed. I would recommend this book to anyone.
davidprovost on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the constant refrains in "The Man on the Ceiling" is that everything the authors are telling us is true. They repeat it again and again, almost talismanically. True, in this case, clearly does not mean "real" -- as the book describes, among other imaginary stories and events, a man who lives in the ceiling of Steve and Melanie Tem's house. True, in this case, means something more like "right" or "honest". Ironically, I think a "true" autobiography of these two people would have made for a more powerful and enthralling book. The authors are a couple that has adopted several troubled kids, including one who dies tragically at a very young age. There is no real plot or story here -- the book is more a series of stories, observations, vignettes, memories and fables -- and important details are glossed over or shrouded in imagination and fantasy, making the line between true-as-in-real versus true-as-in-right frustratingly blurry. There are certainly moments of beautiful language, and fabulous elements of joy and tragedy, but not enough to really carry this slightly indulgent book.
unrealfred on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A strange sort of memoir, at times genuinely frightening, at others quite touching, but at all times just a little too slight. I never read the original (well praised) novella, so I can't really judge, but I'm not sure there was cause to expand it here. There's a great deal to really like, but it doesn't hang together in any form I could really love.