The narrator of the story is a nameless young woman who is in a fairly new relationship with Jake, but she has some doubts about where it is going and is thinking about ending things. Their relationship is based on a shared communication style, which moves to the physical, but it is their philosophical conversations that truly maneuver the relationship along.
Jake invites her to go home to meet his parents and see the farm where he grew up in a remote, small village. The family dinner is odd, but the ride back home after dinner even more so, with detours to a Dairy Queen staffed by giggling girls to a dark, deserted old high school.
This is a genuinely atmospheric book, and the cold, snowy night really ups the creepy factor, and the story grows more diabolical and dangerous with each turn of the page.
Written in the first person, but interspersed with an occasional page from a parallel story with a different point of view, eventually the two start looking like they will converge. These characters are carefully developed and the story takes some frightening turns, leading to a shocking ending.
The construct of this book is brilliant and unusual, and should appeal to fans of psychological thrillers or even horror. This dark debut is a most uncomfortable read, but simply unputdownable. Even after you turn the last page.
I read it twice.
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(For a peek at Reed’s writing style, check out You Sold Your Book! Please Sign This Contract in the New Yorker.)
6/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS by Iain Reid. Gallery/Scout Press (June 14, 2016). ISBN 978-1501126925. 224p.