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This book really blew me away. I'm not sure if I mean that in a good way or a bad way, although my rating seems to suggest a lean towards the positive. Relatively vague spoilers included.
Fantome is truly an incredible author. I've read all of her other works, bar My Time In The Affair which I plan to read shortly hereafter, and I never cease to be amazed by how quickly I become invested in her characters. And I think that's of particular importance here, because of the ethical issues that arise.
What I mean to say is that it takes a particular set of literary skills to render murderers entirely relatable.
I can't speak for other readers, but the book quickly prompted me to question my own morality. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in danger of setting out on a killing spree anytime soon, but the book certainly makes you think about it, if nothing else. Or at least it did for me.. (Someone please reassure me in the comments that I'm not alone!)
There were moments when I thought about putting the book down for good. Not because it was bad, or I didn't like it, but for the exact opposite reason. This is the first time in reading a novel that I've understood the term Taboo. By portraying it through the eyes of the characters, Fantome makes murder seem not just ok, but enjoyable
. There's no escaping the knowledge that what the characters have done and are planning to do, is ethically problematic. But there's also no escaping the knowledge that they like it.. And maybe you do?
At the risk of sounding entirely cliché, I'm going to evoke the old image of the beautiful storm that you can't tear your eyes away from..
What Fantome has accomplished in essence, is make the reader not only understand, but empathise. You know exactly how the protagonists feel, because you feel the same way. Just like the characters could be caught indulging in murder, you could be caught indulging in their own indulgence. (If that makes any sense?) The consequence of their actions are far greater, sure, but the same emotions are triggered.
And I think that is incredible writing.
This is my first novel of 2017, and it's really set the bar high, I must say.
Over & Out, T xx