Book Reviews

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (2016) Review

This is not a ghost story. This is not a mystery novel. This is something new.

“Debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude.”

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

This is for fans of thrillers and horror alike. There’s elements of both but not in the usually prescribed form. It’s tumultuous to analyze its intentions without spoiling the game, so it’s best left said that Reid approached the subject with striking honesty and morbidity. Aforementioned, this is Reid’s first work of fiction, having two memoirs under his belt. His upcoming novel, Foe, is due this September.

 

I’ve never read anything like this before and that was a big deal in itself. The first person narration is instantly unreliable, though effective at stoking along a reader’s curiosity. This is a fantastic blind read (not researching the plot). Diving straight in with this type of narrator is half the fun. Admittedly, there were times when conversation went dry. There’s a heavy emphasis on philosophy in this book, which may not be the easiest dialogue to chug through on late nights or early mornings. You’ll have think beyond comprehending text and get in touch with deeper and darker thoughts.

“We’re never inside someone else’s head. We can never really know someone else’s thoughts. And it’s thoughts that count. Thought is reality. Actions can be faked.”

The nonchalant delivery of the odder bits was sincerely chilling. You feel as if something is terribly wrong the entire time and that blanket of dread and uncertainty is a thrill. As a reader, I felt unsettled after closing the book for the night. The imagery was matter-of-factly put, and that method paid off in a huge way. The author gave the perfect amount of description to let your own imagination fester with possibilities. Simply put, the unease was eloquent.

I don’t think the author intended to hoodwink anyone with his story. Instead, he offered multiple directions for you to follow and didn’t spoil either of them with too much hinting. It’ll leave you thinking about what you missed or overlooked the first time around but more importantly, it’ll make you feel. I felt saddened and disturbed when all was said and done; and that’s hard to shake off. I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an outstanding candidate for a book club. There’s a profusion to discuss in hindsight and there’s a wealth of fodder to flesh out with fellow readers in terms of personal interpretations and theories.

Long story short, I can’t wait to reread this sly paperback. (Shout out to Kyle for sharing the good word.)

 

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