When I started reading this book, I didn’t like Rupi Kaur any more than you do. I think anyone who’s reading this site probably has the same idea of her that I had, an idea that isn’t entirely inaccurate: that Rupi Kaur is a sham writer of trite, pithy poems that aren’t worth the mostly-blank paper they’re printed on. As I sat downloading a copy of her latest book, The Sun And Her Flowers, probably chuckling with self-satisfied irony, I had very low expectations, likely no greater than yours. I had no great awakening while reading this book – none of my troubles were danced away in a field of sunflowers – but this new Rupi Kaur book… it has good parts.
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Them, or Ils in the original French, is a mumbling hour and a half film. Set in a cavernous and probably drafty country house in the Romanian countryside, two French lovers go to sleep like any other night but are awakened to revving engines outside and what follows is a cat and mouse game full of creaking staircases, jarring noises, screams, and dialogue so sparse you could probably skip the subtitles and still follow the plot.
Them tricks you into sitting on the edge of your seat, setting your drink down, and folding your hands in your lap by the time the opening credits have finished. Before the French lovers, before the haunted house, a mother and daughter drive down a secluded road after dark. The car breaks down. Mom pops the hood. Screams. Steps. Strangling. Finally, a hand hits the window and slides down slowly.
What do these two women have to do with the story? Not a thing, aside from to show you immediately and viscerally that there is some Other hiding out there that will strangle you and your daughter when the engine overheats.
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