Is Shopping at IKEA your idea of a nightmare? If so, then this book's for you

Horrorstor book cover

Horror is not a genre I typically read or seek out in any form, but I was intrigued by the cover and layout of Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix.  The cover shows pieces of furniture in a standard furniture store livingroom display, complete with pricing and Scandinavian-like product names.  Since I don't know Swedish, I have no idea if the product names are real or made up words, but each chapter starts with an image and description of a piece of furniture.

The story takes place in an Orsk "big box" furniture and home goods store.   Orsk is a Milwaukee, WI-based IKEA-wanna-be.  Mixed in with the story and ads for furniture are pages from the employee handbook, copies of staff performance reviews, store maps, instructions on assembling flat-pack furniture, and other tid-bits that help the reader understand the Orsk mind-set.  The events take place in Orsk Location #00108 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.  This particular store was built on the same site as a 19th century prison/workhouse. 

Staff at Orsk start noticing odd things -- smelly, soiled furniture, damaged goods, and other problems when they return in the mornings to open the store.  A small group of staff are tasked with staying overnight to catch the vandals.  Then horrible things start to happen as the dead inmates of the workhouse and their sadistic warden torment the present-day store employees.  And, as we move through the book the furniture ads move from lovely dining room sets to beautifully described torture devices.

Here are some reviews from the book's website:

"If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to put together furniture from IKEA, you’ll get a laugh out of Hendrix’s spoof mystery."—New York Post

"Horrorstör delivers a crisp terror-tale...[and] Hendrix strikes a nice balance between comedy and horror."—Washington Post

This is an interesting mixture of furniture catalog, ghost story, and commentary on the soul-smashing problems of mindless working in an overly regimented corporate structure.

You can find Horrorstör in the Browsing Collection at the Shapiro Undergraduate Library.

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