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I’m Thinking of Ending Things

I'm Thinking of Ending ThingsI’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Iain Reid’s debut novel is everything I love in fiction: voicey, quirky, unsettling, surreal, and disturbing. This is a character-driven mystery, although not one of the whodunnit type so much as the what’s-going-on type, which means everything relies on how you feel about the narrator. Luckily, Reid creates one who is realistically flawed while still being engaging and relatable. I found her extremely well drawn thanks to Reid’s use of precise language and vivid backstory. In some ways I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS reminded me of John Darnielle’s WOLF IN WHITE VAN. Both are very, very close first-person narratives with a focus more on the internal thoughts and memories of the narrator than on the plot.

I guessed the big secret pretty early on, not because Reid is a sloppy writer — he’s not, he’s actually a very careful writer — but because I’m a jaded reader who’s seen all the tricks before. Regardless, I greatly enjoyed the novel. It’s a fast, compelling read, and a surprising page-turner for such a meditative narrative. As debut novels go, I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS is enormously accomplished. It may not be for everyone. If you’re looking for a straightforward narrative, this won’t fit the bill. It’s much more twisty and surreal than that, which personally I enjoyed. I’ll be keeping an eye out for Reid’s next novel.

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