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Guy posts on 1/8/2015 2:37:02 PM Some clarity on the novel. Mother was in fact Ol'Grady and we see this when Sophie takes the coat and leaves it with her mother, once she tells her to kill herself. Sophie caught her mother trying to kill Mattie when he was a baby, possibly because she new and was scared of Sophie's abnormal intelligence from a younger age. This gave Sophie am immense amount of control of her mother. As Sophie stopped the killing she essentially, killed Ol'Grady. Sophie killed David, in her mind, as an act of salvation for her relationship with Mattie, which was perfect. Ultimately Sophie made the decision to end her life and her mother's early on, knowing she could never truly be understood or live in the outside world. This is why she wanted to experience grown up things like drugs and sex, knowing she would never experience these again. Sophie asked Mattie to lock her in the cage in the quarry, it was suicide, assisted suicide but suicide none the less. In the end we think that Mattie has come to the agreement to free the 'other Sophie' and we read that she is given the grey key to explore the quarry, and see for herself. The other Sophie believes she holds the 'real' key to the quarry and the other just have a fake. However we then come to learn that she is also dead/or trapped in the cage to die. We learn that Mattie is a liar when the real Sophie speaks to her and we understand that she too has been in the cage for days. "Will you tell me your story, then?" I say. "The true story? The real one?" That'll take a while, Sophie says... "There's still enough time," I say.
Abigail Parker posts on 1/1/2015 3:31:11 PM I think Mattie's plan was to talk to a bunch of "Sophie's" and kill them until one of them got him to explain his childhood all the way to the end. The purpose of all the lighting and relighting all the candles is mark the point in the story where all of the girls got him to explain. Thats what it meant when Mattie said to the last "Sophie" "I could have killed you." and when it said "Of all the Sophie's there had been, none had managed to pull Mattie through the whole story, shown him everything that had happened, made him face it all. I think he decided to kill them because he thought even though his sister was dead, she was still in control, and killing them would make it go away. But, thats just my opinion.
rabbithole posts on 7/15/2014 4:20:04 AM I agree with everybody else, re: what happened to Sophie. I think Sophie DID convince their mum to kill herself because she'd always been shown as having a terrible psychological hold on her. Did anyone else pick up on what the mum said about Matthew, though, in their final conversation? "I have a monster for a child..." - was she talking to Sophie or Mattie? And she asked if Matthew wet himself in that woman's sheets, was that implying that Matthew wasn't her child? Sophie said she was talking about something that happened before he was born.... Mattie definitely locked her in, how else would he end up with the key? I guess the only question with that is whether Sophie actually did ask him to do it or he locked her in because he wanted to be rid of her (other!Sophie didn't seem too sure of that, either). He became a serial killer due to the trauma, trapped girls in the old house and then left them to starve before killing them in the abandoned quarry cages. Anyone else pick up on the creepy subtext that modern!Sophie might have been Matthew's girlfriend? She said she knew about the nightmares, *shudder*



Alexis posts on 7/4/2014 9:04:39 PM I'm confused about many of the same things as a lot of the previous posters, but additionally any of the parts that involved Andy and Steve confused me very much. Also, as far as the question "How did Sophie convince her no to commit suicide?" I was under the impression that Sophie killed her an made it look like a suicide. But I may need to reread the ending to make sure there's nothing that contradicts this idea.
Toni posts on 2/29/2012 3:31:11 PM Well, I love this book-like all the others. I think Ol Greedy/Grady is a ghost- an idea of Sophie to torture her mother, because she got no love from her. I think, Sophie made the little Mathew Baby cry every night with this Phantom-Costume and woke up the mother time after time. That´s made the mother so depressed. Then Sophie try´s to erase Matthew´s memory. Her mother knew that her daughter was an evil genius and she was afraid of her. Sophie kill´s the little David by using her anatomy-books. At the end, Matthew is besotted with Sophie-she kill herself or he locked her in. The woman is just one of a lot of girls, and Matthew plays the story time after time, with the end, that he locked up the girl. When this woman realize that fact, she comes into kind of agony and talks with the real Sophie-Skellet, try so hard to understand the whole story! Sorry my English isn´t very good- I´m from german;)
Sara posts on 9/15/2010 4:10:31 PM Guy Burt is one of my favourite authors, I don't think anyone can do a psychological thriller better than he, although I do feel he has an abandonment complex! I found a book today written by a Guy Burt called "Das Haus der Lügen" which translates as The house of lies, does anyone know if this is the same Guy?
Jennifer posts on 7/13/2010 11:43:41 PM I believe that the mother dressed up as Ol' Grady and scared Sophie as a child and then started after Mattie too - playing around with suffocation and mentally abusing them. Once Sophie realized it was her mother she somehow scared the woman into stopping, but Sophie hasn't realized that Ol' Greedy had been visiting Mattie too. I believe she was upset that she hadn't protected him better. It is somewhat fitting then that baby David's death is attributed to "crib death" or suffocation - Sophie's way of getting back at Mummy again? I believe she must have used the human anatomy books to figure out where the soft spots in the baby's skull were - before they fuse together the plates of the skull have gaps to allow for brain growth - obviously Sophie knew where the soft spot was and applied pressure to injure the baby's brain and cause death. After the barn fire and Mummy being left with instructions to commit suicide, I think Mattie locked Sophie in the cage in the quarry to starve to death. Years later he became a serial killer, reenacting the event, leaving these other "Sophies" to starve to death. Not sure who the final Sophie was, obviously some girl Mattie had just met somewhere, but he locked her up too and the key that she was given didn't work. Would love to know if my conclusions are correct! My 11 year old picked this book out at the library and I quickly read through it this afternoon to see if it was suitable for her, so I didn't have time to reread or slow down.
Kristele posts on 12/29/2007 2:46:15 AM Geez, I just finished this book and it totally left me with this whole range of tense emotion that 1. made me severely creeped out and 2. left me with a burning desire to decipher some of the vague descriptions in the book. I think I pieced most of it together now though. I knew it was the baby david sophie killed and I got the whole Mattie turned into a serial killer of girls in an attempt to come to terms with a terrifying childhood. O'greedy/grady makes sense now thanks to previous posts, I think it was Sophie and that's why she got upset when Mattie explained the dream. I think on the topic of the mother that she reminded me a lot of the mother in "A Child Called "It"" and that for whatever reason she had no desire for her children after Sophie, and yet still felt some kind of torturous remorse at convincing an innocent child who must have originally adored her mother to attempt to follow her wishes to kill her little brother. This also explains the way Sophie locked away her emotions and the way she was able to hold the guilt and the threat to expose her mother for what she was to the world in order to make her mother commit suicide. What I am still trying to decipher however is how Sophie herself committed suicide, if she did, or if perhaps Mattie had a hand in her death, and I also do not understand the final "sophie" at the end, was she messed up in the head too? Or just in incredible shock to be down in that quarry and figuratively speaking to the skeleton of the real sophie? All in all kudos to Guy Burt, because wow I have not had to think that hard while reading a book in a long time, his story was chilling, inventive and sticks with you and forces you to think even after the last page is turned.
andrew szudek posts on 12/22/2007 11:41:12 AM i think the key to this book (in all its horror) is the idea that mattie is an only child. in the beginning, the world (or god) mutilated itself to create man / subjectivity, an event that is somehow remembered by mattie - in the form of a phantom (ol grady) "coming to get him". in a sense, this event really happened to sophie, who was mattie's "first form" (hence she says "You remember that?") - but then she is only the halfway-house between god (the unborn world) and "man", whose creation will be completed when sophie enters the quarry of mattie's own unconscious, thus burying the memory of the world's (or god's) original mutilation of itself. but somehow the door to mattie's unconscious is left ajar... leaving mattie in a hybrid world that is neither real nor imagined, but somehow both. it's possible therefore that even the girl narrator ("one of the sophies" (whose name, of course, means "knowledge")) is also "imagined"... and that mattie has always, ALWAYS... been alone...
ashley posts on 8/29/2007 2:37:02 PM this was one of those amazing mind-boggling books. i thought i really understood what was going on until the end. is there any way to email guy burt? or something?
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