You will be scared. But you won’t know why…
I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always.
Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”
And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.
In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.
In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, 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. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page…and never lets you go.
Like everyone else who has read and reviewed this book, I have absolutely no idea where to start or how I’m going to finish. Absorbing, intense, intriguing and totally bizarre; this is a book that has to be read to be understood…or not, as the case may be.
After seeing a few awesome and simultaneously puzzling reviews from fellow bloggers (check out the wonderful Lauren and Jess’ reviews), I knew I’d be picking this book up when I had some spare time. In the end, I didn’t have any spare time but I downloaded it to my phone and read it long into the night anyway, barely pausing for breath until I reached the end.
The story centres on Jake and his anonymous girlfriend, who are taking a road trip to meet his folks. She’s thinking of ending things, and that, is pretty much all you need to know. It’s also pretty much all you will know for approximately 90% of the book because it gives so little away. If you don’t like speculative fiction or open-ended plot lines, stay away: this will frustrate the hell out of you!
The plot is slow moving, with very little happening other than a pretty unremarkable car journey for a good proportion of the book. Our anonymous narrator reflects on bizarre memories from her childhood, as well as nostalgically recalling how the couple met and got together. When they eventually arrive at Jake’s parents house, things begin to get really odd, but not in any completely discernible way. Reid is a puppet master, cleverly pulling at invisible strings to create a sick, crawling tension that is impossible to define.
This is a perpetually creepy novel, and one which I truly enjoyed, even if it meant that my palms were so sweaty I had to keep putting my phone down. I was addicted to trying to work out how the book would end and despite having a few theories, I was proven wrong time and again as the book twisted and turned its way to a progressively weird climax.
Like everyone else, I couldn’t work out for the life of me why I was so chilled until the end, which is the true beauty of a great thriller or horror. Even now, I’m not 100% sure exactly what went down, but I do know that I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Read it and see if you can work it out; I dare you.
- Author: Iain Reid
- Publication Date: 14th June 2016
- Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
- Pages: 224
- Rating: 4/5
- In short: Skin crawling-ly memorable.