The Ceremonies is a transformation of T.E.D. Klein's earlier novelette "The Events at Poroth Farm." It is not necessary to read the latter in order to appreciate the former, for they are quite different. It may be useful to prime yourself with Klein's story collection "Dark Gods" in order to get a better idea of his style.
Sarr and Deborah Poroth are farmers living within an ulra-religious community. They eschew modernity in all its comforts, for such things are not of god. They love each other almost as much as they love god, even though none of that belief in god is ultimately useful to them, as the indifferent universe wins over all (interesting touch of reality, there). The virginal city dweller, Carol, also a true believer, longs for a relationship. Mostly she finds comfort in the attentions of Mr. Rosebottom (Rosie), an old man who presents himself as some kind of kindly grandfather type, but who is actually more evil than anyone can imagine. Jeremy is a teacher on sabbatical at the Poroth farm, studying Machen, Lovecraft, LeFanu, Jackson, Stoker, and other writers of the gothic and weird. He becomes involved with Carol and the other characters through the machinations of Rosie.
The most interesting thing about the book is how Klein makes the characters subsidiary to the evil, which in turn makes the atmosphere of the story even weirder. You won't find this kind of thing in stories by Stephen King, or other writers whose works are much more character-centered (and less interesting, I think). Klein's character Jeremy studies the works of the great weird writers, but this is not enough to make Jeremy himself even mildly interesting. Rather, it is the quoted parts of Machen's "The White People" from Jeremy's reading that holds your attention. It's not Jeremy's longings for the beautiful Deborah or the innocent Carol. Rather, it's the outbuilding on the Poroth farm in which Jeremy stays. It's the weird noises in the night, the onslaught of bugs at the screens of the outbuilding, the mold, Bwada the cat...all things that act against the characters.
Be prepared to work on The Ceremonies for a few hours. Klein doesn't go from zero to sixty: he goes from zero to five to ten to twenty...then gets to sixty in the last few chapters. That's because in between zero and sixty he is carefully building the atmosphere of the story, doling it out by the spoonful in a truly weird beginning, then adding a bit more chapter by chapter. It is a most effective technique for hooking the reader.
The Ceremonies is a truly weird masterpiece, to be favorably compared with the works of Lovecraft, Poe, Blackwood, Machen, Campbell and others whose work has made them giants in the field. I hope to see much more from this enormously talented author.