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Monday, December 2, 2013

The Night Guest: A Novel

All I ever desire in a good novel is a tight-knit story with incredible characters that keeps me turning the page. So here I find myself, absolutely in awe, with Fiona McFarlane's The Night Guest. 

Ruth's life is quiet; she lives in the holiday house she and her late husband bought early in their marriage on the coast of Australia. He passed away quite suddenly after retiring there, but Ruth has created a regimented lifestyle that includes phone calls with her son every Sunday. One blustery a day a stranger comes, claiming to be a caretaker sent by the government. Everybody but Ruth thinks it's a good idea; eventually she gives in and before long finds herself completely dependent on Frida. Soon it's almost as if Ruth is completely losing her mind. Who is Frida? Who sent her, and what does she want with Ruth?

I loved this book. I found myself jaw-droppingly invested in Ruth and finding out the truth about Frida. I desperately wanted to figure out what was happening, and I refused to let the book leave my sight until I did. I was completely bought in to the story regardless of how fantastic it got; that feeling of madness was palpable yet unbelievable in the best readership way possible.

McFarlane has written prose that is as addicting as it is beautiful, and she has created characters of such depth with arcs that are astounding for such a short time. Her ability to jump back in time and forward again without skipping a bit or losing her reader only made the story more fascinating, and her set-up of the story with the truly fulfilling characters is just stunning. This book is a thriller of the most literary sort; while not as intricate as a Le Carre book, it has that same unfolding storytelling feel. It's simply gripping.

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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