The Crooked House (2000)
The Crooked House (2000)
3.82 of 5 Votes: 5
0751556971 (ISBN13: 9780751556971)
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I thought the book was very well written and had a good flow of direction until Chapter 12. Then the book just slid downhill. For me. Esme escaped a brutal family tragedy and never really got the answers she was looking for. She went back to her hometown when her boyfriend was invited to attend a wedding. I never got a good vibe from the boyfriend at all. The book could of went in so many better directions. An engrossing page turner. The sort of book that allows to be read at one sitting - as long as one stays up until silly o'clock.It contains many factors that contribute to a good, if not necessarily great, novel. Everything from the main character's Point of View. I would have written that nothing happens unless it is either witnessed by or reported to her, but this isn't strictly true. On the whole, though, we don't know what the other characters are thinking unless they indicate that to Alison.There is a clear narrative time line. I have read several reviews that dislike the switch between 'now' & 13 years ago. That seems to be a fashionable device currently. I like it, but I suppose if you don't, it's a difficult hurdle to overcome.A lot of the characters weren't rounded, but I don't mind that - that's how I see most people, especially bit part players, in life. And the fuller characters, especially Esme/Alison, were neither likeable nor unlikeable. They were people, the sort we spend most of our lives with. Not soul mates, but okay, from what we know of them.I didn't find any jarring in respect of syntax or idiom, and I didn't notice any of my least favourite writerly tics (eg shoe horn of a third person's life history and a description of the physical surroundings, as the heroine walks along the road to somewhere reflecting on the previous day's conversation; or unnecessary clauses 'she decided she would set out to travel to the place she wanted to be in'). One negative: Alison worked in a book publisher's office - far too many writers know too little of workplaces outside of writerly concerns. Ah well.The novel is a sort of whodunnit, but from the point of view of Esme/Alison, who survived the massacre of the rest of her family. That is revealed early on, so no spoiler there. Alison doesn't waster her time - or ours - having existential crises or philosophical discourses, but she has night terrors. She is self questioning, self aware, self doubting, and struggling to establish who she really is.The writer evocatively depicts the Estuarial mudflats, the closed village community, seemingly isolated, dominated by a decommissioned power station looming dark against the twilight horizon. The pub that hasn't yet moved in to the 21st century, let alone its second decade, and the inbred tight locals. Actually, the only thing that doesn't ring true is that took them so long to drive from London to the Essex coast.I'm not sure if this book will have made a lasting impression on me - a downside of reading it almost in one sitting. And I don't think it has big things to say about the human condition or the Big Wide World. But it's interesting psychologically. And it's taught me that there's quite a gap between the sort of chicklit books I used to like (Bridget Jones being outstanding), where a woman's life revolves around getting/keeping a man, and crime-related fiction which are about what a woman does (not necessarily heroic feminist deeds, but, you know, life), and the fact that she is in a relationship is quite important to the story, as it to the lives of most of us, while we do the other things we do.This is described as a thriller, and who am I to quibble, but although there is a persistent feeling of unease and risk, I wouldn't say there was much in the way of heart-stopping fear until the end. Yeah, hazard and risk rather than danger.I will add more by this author to the TBR list.
I was really looking forward to this one, but the writing just didn't flow for me. Disappointing.
Quite hard to read it jumped all over the place could have been much better
Great read. Really warmed to the characters and the story is original
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