Lots of people have been buzzing about this book since it came out last June. It’s a psychological thriller but it’s NOT written by a woman, which I wanted to point out only because Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn seem to be all anyone is reading/talking about in the thriller genre these days. I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid is a good read, but for those of you who are apt to stop reading half way through a book, you must read to the end on this one. Take it from me, as you begin reading it you think the author is simply a terrible writer. But he’s not, he’s genius, and you will see why at the end of the book.
Reid does a great job of building a creepy atmosphere here; we start off on a road trip with a young woman and her boyfriend ‘Jake’ of a few weeks. They are travelling to meet his parents on their isolated farm, but the woman is thinking of breaking up with Jake too, so she’s feeling a bit uneasy. What makes matters worse is that she’s keeping another secret from him: a strange man keeps calling her and leaving cryptic messages that don’t make sense. Oh, and it’s winter, and it’s getting dark, etc. Who’s freaked out yet?
So why did I think Reid was a terrible writer? Well, the book is written from a first person point of view, but we never get to know the narrator. Like, at all. We don’t know anything about her. And she has this INCREDIBLY annoying habit of going off on a tangent of random thoughts when something really strange/on the verge of dangerous is happening to her. It was completely unrealistic, and it really bothered me. But, as I mentioned above, just push through this, it’s totally worth it.
This novel is fairly short, and it’s the first work of fiction for Iain Reid, he’s written two works of non-fiction before this, which is why I wasn’t so sure what to expect with this one. After I finished reading it, I googled the book (fyi, this is what very serious book reviewers do) and I found a forum of people discussing the book, trying to explain certain aspects of it. Personally, I think that’s a sign of a great book because it has kept people talking!
I hope I didn’t give away anything by accident, people who have already read this book may feel I’ve already said too much in this review, but if you haven’t picked it up yet the twists will still come as a surprise. I should mention this is a great book to discuss at book club too, everyone will have a different reaction. Plus, Reid is Canadian! The major thrillers coming out these days have mostly come out of the UK, so it’s time us Canucks have a go at this popular genre too.