This is gripping. I read it inside one sitting. The hard part is now explaining why. Gillian Flynn has something but I'm not sure what it is. However, it certainly worked on me.
The narrative is crisp and modern and so moves along at a good pace with plenty of psychological suspense.The story of a missing wife is not unusual: the quest to find out what happened to her pulls us along. So these two factors alone make this book a traditional 'page turner'.
The novel is in three sections, the first displays a marriage from both sides. It was a little uncomfortable in places as there are aspects that I can I identify with (as I have been married for more than twenty years some inconsiderate laziness has risen to the surface occasionally!). Gender perceptions, toxic and disturbing in parts, showing the dark side of marriage. This part I found unputdownable. I know other people found this part a bit dull, but hey, maybe their marriage is more lively than mine.
The next part is when the missing wife aspect is disclosed. It is a little far-fetched in places as well as being formed from stereotypes and familiar plot-lines. Nevertheless, I was drawn to find out how the characters dealt with this.
The third part is a strange kind of equilibrium. The direction of this novel changes from a dysfunctional relationship, to a missing person case, possible murder case and a whodunit and you don't know until the end. I was disappointed in it. But I still raced to that end.
This book may not become a classic despite the number of awards and nominations. But it is easy to read because of the short chapters and casual speech patterns. It is also often hard to read because of the mind games, tension and brutality within the characters. In summary, it is a great example of domestic noir and definitely dark fiction.
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson 24 May 2012
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