[A] captivating and thoughtful debut novel ... The book’s tone is somewhere between dreamy and nightmarish, and Dektar does a fantastic job creating and maintaining that tension. The motivations for the characters are not always clear ... Yet the emotional intensity—and perhaps the strangeness—of the novel is compelling even without those insights ... a lovely book and a scary story. Dektar’s writing and vision bring brightness to an otherwise dark tale.
Molly Dektar’s creepy, brilliant debut novel, The Ash Family, has not a whiff of the supernatural about it. Yet it is a top-notch horror story, made even more unsettling by the fact that nothing about what it unravels is particularly far-fetched ... The plot may feel predictable to anyone who has read about real-life communes and cults gone rogue. Yet Dektar’s story remains gripping because it’s never clear how deeply Harmony has been drawn into this dangerous, obsessive world ... Beyond its harrowing story, The Ash Family explores some profound questions.
... remarkable ... Readers of The Ash Family should know that there are as many turns in this novel as there are for drivers heading up a summit of a real-life North Carolina mountain. Characters appear. Others disappear. The past comes back. Sometimes, I think, even the future becomes the present. Dektar handles it all with great finesse, and the narrative holds up firmly until it reaches its (mostly) satisfying ending ... the kind of novel that should be read slowly. Yes, it’s propulsive and ridden with moments of tension, but savoring on the layered secrets found inside the unraveling Ash Family’s farm is the real treat here ... an engaging book about searching for ourselves in a deeply complicated world.