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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Her: A Novel

I love intrigue. Like, a lot. Which is what drew me to Harriet Lane's Her--a premise that promised hidden motives and game-changers. 

The day that Nina sees her in the park, her obsession begins. She hasn't seen Emma in so long, but there she is with her small son and her swollen belly, about to be a mother a second time. Emma can't figure out why this incredibly stylish and cool older woman wants to be her friend, but she is grateful for the friendship. As their relationship slowly builds and simultaneously untangles, life as these women know it will be forever changed.

This book was borderline creepy, but it was mostly quietly fascinating, like that shy girl you know at work who never talks and then posts pictures from her hard-core drug-fueled weekend raves. It was clear from the opening line that Nina knows Emma but Emma doesn't remember Nina, and this was enough to hook me in and propel me forward. Nina was such a cool cucumber with a wild and seemingly violent undercurrent without ever showing it, and she was like watching a thriller where you know someone has to die, but who will it be and when. (Please note, I'm not saying that someone actually dies in this book, but more like one of those amazing psychological thriller-like movies. You know. I also just saw Nightcrawler, which is a perfect companion piece for this novel.)

This book slowly comes together, and the way that Lane has structured her narrative was mind-blowing. You know something is afoot, and the only way to find it all out and put every last puzzle piece together to see the big picture is to get to the end. It was like an old-fashioned thriller. Quiet. Lovely. The big questions I was left with at the end was: Was every last thing Nina did purposefully planned?

You don't get a nice, wrapped up ending. In fact, you are left with one hell of a cliffhanger, the end up to you to guess. I believe I know what happened, but my version may be much different than yours. It's an ambiguous ending, but one enough to make you heave at the knowledge that everyone's lives will never, ever be the same. Who is Nina, really? What does she want from Emma -- revenge, understanding, payback, recognition? AAAARRGGGGHHHH. Delicious, all of this. Well worth picking up if you welcome ambiguity and eye-popping revelations.

For purchase below. 

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