“There’s no warning, no explanation. I can’t hear the car from here. I just open my eyes and see the green lights. It’s like they appeared out of nowhere, shaking me from my daze. They are brighter than most headlights, glaring from between the two dead trees at the end of the lane. I don’t know the precise time, but it’s dark. It’s late. Too late for a visitor. Not that we get many of them.”
Junior and Hen are a married couple that live a quiet and solitary life on an isolated farm. One evening, that solitude is disrupted by a visit from a stranger who brings with him some unexpected and odd news: Junior has been randomly selected to participate in a project that will have him travel somewhere very far away. Odder still is that arrangements have been made for the duration of his absence so that Hen will not be left alone but in familiar company.
Iain Reid is back with another interesting little novel. I absolutely loved his debut, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, which completely surprised and fascinated me. This time around, instead of a dark thriller, Foe delivers a science-fiction story that examines domestic relationships and what it means to be a person. As always, the writing is exceptional, with a classic quality that is page-turning while tackling thought-provoking topics. In terms of plot nothing really happens, so if that is something that does not appeal to you, Foe is not the best option. I tend to really enjoy novels that are not plot-driven so this was part of the appeal, however I did find it slow at times and would have liked an additional twist or two to move the narrative forward. There is a twist that does occur, which I did not figure out beforehand and it definitely packed a punch, making me want to reread the novel completely and experience the story with that knowledge. I really enjoy Iain Reid’s writing and if your curiosity is at all piqued, I recommend giving them a try as they are rather short novels that pack a big punch.