Apparently I’m a bookworm. My excuse is that I have to commute to work daily and what else would you do on train other than read a book, right? I actually read 1-2 books a week (that’s not that many, is it?) so had this idea of reviewing books on this blog every now & then. I’ve already expressed my utter disappointment of the book Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange (oh dear, what a rubbish book that was!), so today I thought I’d tell you what my excessively critical self thought of The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.
One of the reasons for picking up this book was that it’s written by a South African author. Yes, Lauren Beukes is actually a SA journalist & cartoonist (what a combination, ay!). Considering that her previous book The Zoo City received a couple of awards, I had quite high expectations of The Shining Girls. And that’s never a good thing.
The Shining Girls is basically a serial killer thriller. Harper Curtis (the killer, the drifter, the definitely a serious case of a psychopath) has got a list of his shining girls (the special girls with an extraordinary halo of uniqueness) he needs to kill & takes them down one by one (very graphically). The twist is that he travels through time to find them – some of them are from 1930s, some of them from 1990s, and anything in between. Until one of them doesn’t die – and decides to find him.
[SPOILER RANT ALERT] The story is very complex. And I mean, VERY complex. It starts sometime in 1980s, then skips to 1930s and from then on it keeps skipping from person to person, year to year, place to place. Sometimes you actually have to re-read a chapter to even get who this or that person is. The inevitable confusion aside, I really enjoyed the whole loop spiral goin’ on (and also wished it was just a little more elaborate). I absolutely loved when it all came together at the end with the pony & Bartek – that was definitely the strongest point for me. What left me a bit cranky was the unexplained. Why did the House enable them to travel through time? If he could travel through time, then why wouldn’t he just go back to before he messed up Kirby’s murder and kill her properly? Why was he wan***g over dead bodies (something like that should surely not be put on paper – I know paper can take anything, but this?!)? Why was there such an elaborate back story of Dan & then was left forgotten about (you know the thing about when there’s a gun in chapter one, someone should definitely use it in chapter two – that’s what I mean)?. Just TOO MANY QUESTIONS.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book – it was a bit of a slow read at the beginning but gradually it got pretty good! Well done, Lauren. I might read your Zoo City too. You can buy it on Amazon for £3.50 (click here).