Friday 14 March 2014

The Farm - Tom Rob Smith

I really enjoyed this, it feels totally different from his Child 44 books, and has a satisfyingly noir Scandinavian setting for most of the story that fitted nicely with my mood last night as I was reading it. The story only loosely falls into the crime category really, being much more of a suspense thriller. That a crime has been committed is implied throughout, however not only is the exact nature of the crime left open until a fair way through the book, but also the reliability of the only witness to this 'crime' is seriously in question. The narration is split between Daniel and his mother and the contrast between the styles of the two characters is brilliantly written. Daniel's confusion and indecision comes across perfectly while the sections narrated by Tilde, where she is outlining her view of events sound eminently plausible while maintaining a slight off note that keeps you doubting if she can really be trusted. Her reactions, ultimatums and interpretation of events kept me doubting her, and ultimately I was very glad that I did. I thought it was marvellous the way elements of fact, personal history and random events were brought together in Tilde's mind to create a whole that made perfect sense to her. I also found her insistence on her version and her absolute rejection of any attempts to change her mind to be convincingly accurate of the behaviours of someone suffering from a paranoid disorder. Her willingness to see everyone as an enemy rang totally true, as did her sense of persecution.
I loved the note of hope in the ending, following the stories of rural tyranny it lifted the whole book although I get the feeling that the problems faced by the various characters would only just be beginning.

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