Foe by Iain Reid

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“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.  Continue reading “Foe by Iain Reid”

Bookshelf: Odd and Quirky Reads

img_2291Sometimes a book is just different. It surprises you, it confuses you, it makes you think, and perhaps leaves you scratching your head. But most of all it captures your attention and provides a unique reading experience. I love books like this. Looking at my bookshelf, there are five books that standout to me as odd and quirky reads that were surprising and confusing in all the best ways.

1. The Room by Jonas Karlsson
A story about a man named Björn who discovers a small, secret room that becomes his refuge from the open floor-plan office space and his co-workers. An amusing and wonderfully unique story.

2. The Blue Girl by Laurie Foos
Told through alternating perspectives of three mothers and three daughters, it tells the story of a time when a mysterious girl with blue skin was saved from drowning. After which, the mothers take turns visiting the blue girl and feeding her moon pies that contain their secrets. An odd concept but one that is very well executed.

3. The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
Josephine is hired as one of many bureaucrats entering an endless amount of numbers into something only known as “The Database.” Her new position and her husband’s increasingly odd behaviour begins to take its toll, leading to an unsettling discovery.

4. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
A unique book with elements of magical realism, fantasy, and science-fiction. Patricia is a witch with a deep connection to nature, and Laurence is a genius when it comes to science and technology. They find friendship in the challenging times of their youth, but end up going their separate ways only to reunite as adults, at a time when the world is descending into chaos.

5. I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
Told from the perspective of an unnamed woman who is taking a road trip with her boyfriend, Jake, to visit his parents’ farm.  The woman is unsure of her new relationship and is thinking of ending things.  However, the trip doesn’t go as she thought it would and things take a strange turn during an unexpected detour. Creepy and unsettling.

What are some of your favourite odd and quirky reads? 🙂

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

IMG_2331I’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.

With a vague and minimal description, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is mysterious and intriguing from the get-go.  It is told from the perspective of an unnamed woman who is taking a road trip with her boyfriend, Jake, to visit his parents’ farm.  The woman is unsure of her new relationship and is thinking of ending things.  However, the trip doesn’t go as she thought it would and things take a strange turn during an unexpected detour.

The first part of the novel is largely conversation between the girlfriend and Jake, on the philosophy of life, relationships, and loneliness.  There is an eerie feel from the beginning, however it is during the second part of the novel where the thriller element really comes to fruition, with the uncertainty of what is happening and how it will all unfold.  The story is very well written, and the author does a great job of creating an atmosphere that is creepy and just plain unsettling.  It is a book that will most likely leave you with that “what did I just read?” feeling, and it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. For me however, it worked.  It kept me guessing, changing my theory about what was happening, and best of all it had me eagerly turning the page. This is one of those novels where the more I think about it and really sit with it, the more I like it and appreciate the author’s intention and execution of the story as a whole.  At 224 pages I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a pretty quick read, and one I feel is definitely worth a try.