Saturday, 21 September 2013

Review: The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane

Shout out to Anna from the Reading Room for my review copy of this brilliant novel.

The Night Guest is one of this years picks for the Get Reading! Fifty Books That You Can't Put Down promotion that runs every September and to be totally honest, when I started reading the novel, I had my reservations as to why anyone would pick this slow moving and sometimes depressing novel for a campaign designed to encourage people to read more books. By the time I got midway through the book, I began to understand that this was more than a slow moving tale about ageing and female friendship. Like the tiger that Ruth thinks that she may be hearing at night, there is something far, far more sinister afoot. Is her carer Frida all that she claims to be? What is really going on inside Ruth's isolated by the beach, and is Ruth's mind really as muddled as Frida makes out?

The Night Watch gives the reader clues in small portions bit-by-bit, in between the telling of Ruth's childhood in Fiji. By far more literary than a page turner, it builds up to an ending that I am not going to give away here. (That would be doing any potential readers a grave injustice.)

I cannot say that I loved this one, or that I hated it, but even so I suspect it will linger in my mind for a long time ...