Saturday, 2 December 2017

White Bodies by Jane Robins: Review

Felix is so handsome and clever and romantic. I just wished he hadn’t forced Tilda under the water and held her there so long.’

Callie and Tilda are twins, but it seems they couldn’t be more different - Tilda is the doer, the attention getter, forging a successful acting career; Callie the observer, the quieter one, drifting into a job at a bookshop, existing around the edges of her sister’s life.

When Tilda enters a relationship with the wealthy and controlling Felix (he’s something to do with hedge funds... I don’t think I’ll ever understand what a hedge fund actually is), Callie’s anxieties for her sister’s safety cause her to be lured down some dark and dangerous paths.

From early on there are doubts as to Callie’s reliability as a narrator - she appears to have an unhealthy and certainly abnormal obsession with her golden girl sister. The relationship between the twins is complex and really rather twisted. Though intelligent, Callie has a naïveté and inexperience about her which render it doubtful as to how accurately she might interpret things at times; the author keeps us skilfully on the back foot, uncertain as to how well founded Callie’s fears about Felix are.

This is an incredibly addictive, often unsettling and very cleverly constructed read which constantly keeps the reader guessing as to where it is going; I really had no idea until very near the end, although with hindsight clues were there. The narrative voice of Callie is a triumph - she is an unusual but at the same time very believable character and you’re never quite sure what she’s going to do next. What this book kept reminding me of, and I’m not even sure why as they are very different, was the equally excellent Behind Her Eyes by Sarah  Pinborough - something about the tone, perhaps. 

Elegantly written and tightly plotted... highly recommended. Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review.

Jane Robins began her career as a journalist with The EconomistThe Independent, and the BBC. She has made a specialty of writing historical true crime and has a particular interest in the history of forensics. She has published three books of nonfiction in the UK, Rebel Queen, The Magnificent Spilsbury, and The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams. White Bodies is her first novel.

No comments:

Post a Comment