Book Review – The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

This review deviates from my usual go-to diet of thrillers, but yet their broad topics of relevance (death, dying, passing away) overlaps somewhat.

Admittedly, I chose to read this mostly in part due to the author (I was rather impressed by Behind Her Eyes). Whilst I wasn’t expecting an expertly executed thriller that would blow my mind, I was nevertheless looking forward to a healthy dose of well-written prose.

This book explores the process of death in a very real, close-to-heart, un-cheesy and yet not too morbid way though the eyes of a daughter looking after her father in his last few days. In between the process, we get to see flashbacks of her life – her relationship with her siblings, with her spouse (spoiler follows: ex-husband. Not REALLY a spoiler, but still… ), and her experiences with her father in her childhood. The relationship with her siblings is a multi-dimensional one; they are all different.

What I like about this book is the real and natural way death is presented. It is not patronizing, it is not spiritual, neither is it overtly sad. Just gives you a fresh perspective, doesn’t it? For those who have lost a loved one, or is about to, I recommend it as a good read, which may yet give you a fresh take on things. Peace.

Rating: 4/5

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Book Review – Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

As I’m writing this review, I’m still deep in thought about the story I’ve just read. No spoilers here, but the ending will truly leave you reeling, and thinking about it for hours after. So, here we go – let me review this whilst it’s still fresh in my mind.

I’ve always enjoyed psychological thrillers, as you probably can tell from my previous reviews. However, this one takes the cake. I mean, seriously takes the cake and eats it.

Louise ( who we learn is a single mum) meets a man, David, at a bar and has a once-off lusty encounter with him. The next day, she turns up to work at her new job and discovers David is her new boss. She eventually becomes friends with his wife, Adele and they hang out. Sounds familiar? Not. You may be able to guess what happens next, i.e., Louise has an affair with David? David and Adele have a less than normal relationship? Perhaps. But, I guarantee you will NEVER guess the ending of the story. It starts out innocently enough, and predictably turns scandalous, as we are spectators to the battle inside Louise’s head, but the story goes on, you discover something odd about David and Adele’s – their thoughts and behavior, just snippets of oddity that make you do a double-take. Pinborough doesn’t elaborate much though, continuing the story normally and soon, you forget about it till the next nuance of ‘something-just-doesn’t-quite-fit’.

The story is mainly told from the perspective of the two lead characters, Louise and Adele, occasionally swapping between the present and the past. The flashbacks, however, are not too difficult to follow as there are clear markers. There are a few subplots in the story, but suffice to say, they tie into the story very well and play their roles eventually (hint, hint).

Towards the end, the unbelievable double whammy twist was so exciting I swear the read the last 10 pages as slowly as I could. I couldn’t bear to look ahead and spoil it. I was thinking, what more could there be? And then, BAM, there it is, the double whammy. At this point of the review, I have the overwhelming urge to go back and re-read the book, and spot again the oddities in the story. It is worth it, to re-read the story with the ending in mind, from a fresh perspective.

Solid book. I can’t think of any faults at this point. A book that will keep you guessing. #WTF ending.

Rating 5/5