Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: Gilian Flynn: Dark Places

I was never going to buy this book. Sure I was interested when I read its reviews when the book but when it came down to it, I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend a lot of money on an author I was not quite sure about as yet.

Thank god I read this book. I picked it up at the San Francisco airport during a recent vacation when I realised that I was facing two 10 hour flight journeys on the way back home and just was not feeling sleepy enough. This was just some book that was displayed prominently at some random bookstore in the airport but what happened was something quite magical - I was hooked within three pages.

The book introduces us to the ever unreliable :Libby Day, a protagonist you simply cannot trust. As a child she testified against her own brother as having killed her mother and her sisters and is now living life as a drifter. One day she is contacted by a group obsessed with solving murder mysteries and her already pathetic life is turned upside down.

What I loved about the book was its lucid voice. Right from the beginning you learn to empathise with Libby's life and her setbacks.But she is no saint and you are wholly aware of it. You are also point of view chapters from both her mother and brother dating back to the 80s when the ill-fated murder took place.

The Days are a filthy family. They are filthy people. It's not just a matter of hygiene. They simply are the kind of people one would generally avoid interacting with. The kids are always dirty and up to no good and the mother is a sad stretched woman who fantasises about dying because she simply can't take it anymore. What more, she is not a very good mother to begin with. And all that is reflected beautifully pages after pages in this gem of a book that unfolds like a thriller.

The book at once works as a commentary on poverty and also a taut murder mystery where nothing is as it seems and where everyone has a hidden agenda and there is no decent human being and everyone lies. At the heart of it all is a damn good story and a great plot that never loses its pace. At one point you are almost peeking at the next page to see what's in store for you. And what makes it truly wonderful is that you almost feel like you are one of the Days by middle of the book. You feel dirty.

I was not entirely convinced by the ending but the ride was so enjoyable that I can't complain. I loved reading this book and definitely would recommend it to not only fans of thrillers but also ones who love a good story.

It's out of stock in Flipkart but if you can get your hands on this book, don't miss the chance!