Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca: What have we done to deserve this?

Sayantan Ghosh
Sayantan GhoshOct 27, 2023 | 16:53

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca: What have we done to deserve this?

The column is back after a week’s hiatus, thanks to a Bengali being home for pujo. But Halloween is less than a week away now, so here’s a new nightmare suggestion for your benefit.

Let’s make no bones about it: Eric LaRocca’s Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke is definitely going to ruin your day, and perhaps your week too. It’s triggering, alarming, disturbing, often nauseating, but so consistently engaging that you won’t be able to keep it away.


A slim book that begins rather innocently sometime in the early 2000s in the United States – not without reason, since this is when the internet was supposed to make us feel more connected with the rest of the world. When two women meet in an internet chat room and form a connection after one of them posts an ad to sell an antique apple peeler, it soon turns into a volatile and sadomasochistic game of power, unrelenting control, and obsession.

As the layers of this equation are peeled off carefully by the writer, it starts to become more apparent to the reader where the fate of this relationship is headed. And yet, when – pardon my French – shit hits the fan, and it does, it’s bound to both stun and surprise.

It’s also the form employed by LaRocca to tell us this story – using a series of e-mails and instant messages between the two protagonists, shared as part of an ongoing police investigation – which makes the text instantly more relatable, and as a result, more disconcerting.

True horror is often not about ghouls and ghosts and specters that haunt the lonesome corridors of some ancient mansion. Instead, it’s about seemingly regular things which can easily happen to us – things that can seep through the cracks of our daily existence and settle into uninhabited islands inside our mind.


Isolation, both social and financial, can lead people to terribly murky and tragic territories. Before the invention of the internet, the trouble was you were always alone in this fight. The terrifying truth in Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke is a stark reminder of is that now, someone’s always watching.

Last updated: October 27, 2023 | 16:54
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