Posts tagged ‘Gone Girl’

January 10, 2016

Disclaimer: Renee Knight

by Andre

Disclaimer RENEE KNIGHTDisclaimer is yet another book being marketed with comparisons to Gone Girl on the cover. In fact, this clever debut set in London and Spain has its own distinctive style and deliciously sinister concept. When Catherine Ravenscroft and her husband downsize, she finds an unfamiliar book by her bedside just as she’s settling into a new chapter in her life. To her horror, the story of The Perfect Stranger is apparently her own: a 20-year-old secret about the tragic Spanish holiday she’d tried to forget. Its lurid plot details a holiday seduction by a married woman who’s also a bad mother – a deadly combination to appear in print. To underline the mysterious author’s baleful intentions, the standard disclaimer is scored through with red ink: any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is definitely not a coincidence.

Catherine is an award-winning documentary maker; perhaps this professional woman who charms her way into other people’s lives deserves this fictional intrusion into her privacy. Disclaimer’s dual narrative pits her against disgraced teacher and widower Stephen Brigstocke, who discovers a fiction manuscript by his wife that reveals his family’s fatal connection to Catherine. When he self-publishes and carefully distributes The Perfect Stranger, Catherine has to fight to regain control of her life – and her story – as the poisonous prose suggests a reckoning is coming. Knight is adept at creating suspense as the gradual revelation of family secrets builds to a shocking denouement in the Spanish sun. Disclaimer is a superior psychological thriller shot through with cruelty, tragedy and insights into the artful nature of fiction, though perhaps not best suited as a beach read.

December 24, 2012

Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn

by Andre

Gillian Flynn GONE GIRLThis disquieting psychological crime novel is one of the most talked about books of the past year, partly for the simple reason that people love discussing other couples’ marriages. In this case, it’s the Dunnes: Amy’s a trust fund girl from the Upper East Side who inspired her psychologist parents’ children’s books, Nick’s a refugee from declining New York magazine journalism. After their careers crash simultaneously, Nick moves them home to recession-ravaged Missouri, where his parents are dying and his twin sister’s also retreated. When Amy goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick is obviously going to be scrutinised by the police and a public used to spouses coming unstuck on real crime shows and 24-hour news.

This episodic novel swings back and forth between Nick’s story in the days after Amy’s disappearance and his wife’s diary building up to the same event, until their accounts collide halfway through. The plotting is audacious but it’s the knife-edge narrative that makes this such a queasily disturbing, compulsive read – a 21st century Patricia Highsmith. Gone Girl is a crime thriller but it’s also a novel about the uncertain conspiracy involved in being a couple. As a reader, you pick a side, change your mind; but you’re never sure whether husband or wife will get the last word.