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The Night Following

3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  279 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
On a blustery April day, the quiet, rather private wife of a doctor discovers that her husband has been having an affair. Moments later, driving along a winding country road and distracted perhaps by her own thoughts, perhaps blinded by sunlight, she fails to see sixty-one-year-old Ruth Mitchell up ahead, riding her bicycle. She hits her, killing her instantly. And drives ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 26th 2008 by Delacorte Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Sep 06, 2014 J. rated it it was ok
Spoilers Ahead.
Way down amongst the nondescript weeds of modern murder mysteries, there is a distinction that has evolved into a frontier, a line of demarcation. The easiest way to put it is that the Who-Dunit of Sherlockian or Poirovian classicism has parted ways, some would even say moved on, to the trickier and weirder realms of the Why-Dunit.

Implicit here is that the whodunit, a jigsaw puzzle with contradictory clue pathways and intricate plots, is after all only a jigsaw puzzle; the whodun
I like "people" books - books about people, how they think, what makes them tick, why they do what they do. I like to ponder how I might behave if I was in their shoes. I like characters who are credible, believable, characters I can cheer on or yell "no, don't!" at. I like to care. Not many authors can make me care. Those who do become friends for life.

Morag Joss is now my friend for life. This is high quality writing; carefully crafted, neither sparse nor flowery, with a skilfully handled thre
Eva Mitnick
Mar 02, 2009 Eva Mitnick rated it it was ok
This reminded me in its coolness and seeming detachment of Lionel Shriver's novels. Really, there is much boiling emotion and no wonder - a woman who has just discovered that her husband is having an affair accidentally drives into a woman named Ruth, killing her. She drives away and never does turn herself in, but to make amends, she watches over Ruth's widower Arthur (who is falling to pieces, emotionally and physically), first secretly and then so obviously that Arthur thinks she must be the ...more
Oct 31, 2009 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I found the premise of this book totally unbelievable (basically a woman sneaks into the home of a man whose wife she has killed in a hit and run accident and stays--half-hidden--to help him through his grief), the story was oddly compelling. Through the interweaving of first person narrative from the "killer," letters from the husband to his dead wife, and chapters from an unfinished novel written by the dead wife you come to know each of the three main characters. It also makes you ...more
May 15, 2008 Heather rated it it was ok
This is a confusing and depressing book. Two of the narrators move from traumatized to unbalanced to depressed to demented over the course of the story. The additional "voice" is an unfinished novel by a third character, and it's just as grim.

It has a self-consciously "literary" structure, with the chapters alternating among three voices/genres: first person narrative, letter, and novel. I suspect that I was supposed to regard the unfinished novel as good, but it seemed awfully cliched and disj
May 15, 2016 Billpilgrim rated it really liked it
This book was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel. I'm not sure why it qualifies as a mystery though. I never read any Joss before, and it seems that some of her other books are more traditional mystery stories. A whodunit with an investigating detective sort of thing. In The Following Day, there is a crime at the start, but no mystery about it and no investigation that we ever see. The narrator commits a hit and run accident, leaving the scene after striking a woman on her bicycle and k ...more
May 05, 2015 Stan rated it it was ok
I have to go 2 stars rather than 1, because as much and as often as I wanted to abandon this book, invoking the "life's too short" rule, I just had to stay on to see where the heck Joss was going with it. No question it will go down as one of the strangest books I have read. I suppose it would be categorized as a psychological something or other. My biggest aggravation with it was the constant and endless rumination on the part of the central character who is going off the rails after accidental ...more
Amy Greenlese
Oct 18, 2015 Amy Greenlese rated it it was ok
I'm so confused with how this book was supposed to flow. It started off being very poetic, almost in Patrick Bateman prose, and then it went into hit and run mystery. Then it took a turn into stalker-ville and made you think,wait is the narrator a ghost herself? Then I was confused as to how the husband didn't know/ physically see that the narrator was not his wife. Then it just ended up being disgusting with something I won't give away, then back to stalker-ville. So, was the author trying to s ...more
Jul 22, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was ok
This book was so boring. It was like written in three different stories that all overlapped each other, but not. Really it was two people's point of views with one of the person's wives who dies stories thrown in for good measure. I got most of the plot out of reading the summary on the flap which is a good thing because otherwise I probably wouldn't have known what was going on. A women kills another women in a hit and run accident and she feels so guilty that she interjects herself into the de ...more
Nov 07, 2011 Tonya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to be depressed, people who enjoy dementia stories
Recommended to Tonya by: damn buy 2 get 1 free shelf that's who
I refuse to give this book anymore time than it has already squelched from me, so this will be quick and painless unlike my reading of the damn thing.

In this book we start with a woman in her husband's car spilling groceries, then when attempting clean up finds an empty condom wrapper in his car. *DUM-DUM* After this our character finds herself in some sort of fugue state, wait for it *DUM-DUM* because she finds she doesn't care he's having an affair and doesn't care she doesn't care. Epiphany!
Daniel Parsons
Nov 02, 2009 Daniel Parsons rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Stephen King and Minette Walters
Recommended to Daniel by: Borders Staff!
This highly original, haunting novel, told in three perspectives, is beautifully written but rather outstays its welcome. It tells of a woman who, upon discovering her husband's infidelity, drives down a road and accidentally runs over and kills a bicyclist. Fleeing the scene, she discovers that the woman she killed, Ruth, was an aspiring writer. She finds where her husband, Arthur lives, and seeing he has become a broken man in his grief, she takes to cleaning up after him, making him meals, an ...more
I would have given this a solid four stars, but the final third of the book proved disappointing.

This is a new author to me; I selected the book from the New Reads shelf at my local purely on the author's name- Morag is one of my favorites (long story. Turns out she's best-known for her crime/thriller genre novels. The Night Following doesn't fit easily into this category- it's a psychological drama; there is a crime central to the plot, and another that's woven into a story-within-the-story, b
Tom Carrico
May 03, 2009 Tom Carrico rated it it was amazing
The Night Following
By Morag Joss

Morag Joss is originally from Scotland and now lives in England. The Night Following is her sixth novel since 1997. Her books have been adapted for television in Britain and 2007’s Puccini’s Ghosts has been optioned for a major motion picture.

This story starts innocently enough. An anesthesiologist and his wife switch cars for the day so that the good doctor can get his wife’s car serviced. While the wife is loading groceries into her husband’s Saab, she notice
Feb 26, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Mystery fans who enjoy psychological novels.
Recommended to Michael by: Read it when it was nominated for Edgar Award
The unnamed driver of a car is using her husbands' car while hers is being repaired. She finds a condom in the glove compartment. She is distracted due to finding about her hudband's infidelity and momentarily blinded by the sun and hits a bicyclist, killing the woman on the bike. The bicyclist, Ruth Mitchell has been killed and the car's driver is unable to face the consequences of her action and leaves the scene.

A bit later her husband tells her that the marriage isn't working out and leaves
May 18, 2013 Pat rated it liked it
This is a difficult book both to classify and to recommend;it is by turns, creepy,lyrical,confusing,over-written, blackly humorous, amazingly beautiful, mysterious,suspenseful, and over-flowing with heartache.Morag Joss must know a thousand ways to describe the reflections and qualities of sunlight and darkness, and a hundred thousand ways to articulate the fabric of grief and pain that death and betrayal weave. The story itself (a wife discovers her husband's adultery in a startlingly innocuous ...more
Mar 02, 2016 Ann rated it liked it
Hmmm, not quite sure what to say about this one. A very unusual premise, I had to suspend disbelief quite a bit to get through it. The persistent theme of blindness an making your way in the dark was interesting, since it permeated both of the female characters' lives even though they never met in life. Joss is so talented at exquisitely describing scenes, feelings. These descriptions went on far to long for me at times, though.

In the end there were so many loose ends in the story for me.
Jul 23, 2008 Moira rated it it was ok
Well, I finally finished this book, thank goodness. What a disappointment. I have read a couple of Joss's books and really liked them because I like the "descent into madness" type of psychological fiction. But this was really not very good. It was not believable, and the main characters were just not sympathetic. It wasn't until I was about 2/3 of the way through that I even got interested in finding out how it was all going to end, and then it ended in a totally unsatisfying way. Perhaps I sho ...more
Kat Walter
Jun 02, 2016 Kat Walter rated it liked it
Started out strong, then took an atmospheric turn I didn't enjoy. Contrived, tedious and repetitious. I do like this authors style and have liked other books she's written. This is a novel of three stories that slowly merge in to one, but the ending is underwhelming. First intrigued, then confused, then disappointed.
Danielle Dinh
Mar 10, 2014 Danielle Dinh rated it liked it
I liked how the stories weaved together and it was rewarding to see the story played out like you anticipated. The author dropped lots of bread crumbs to prepare you for what would happen next. It should be shocking but I think most of us have become desensitized through the media we are regularly exposed to. It doesn't mean I don't feel pity and rage for the characters.

I cannot judge the protagonist because I don't know if I'll ever be in her place. I hope I'll never have to find out. Immediate
Jan 15, 2012 Sherry rated it really liked it
The format of the book is complex, with the narration, Arthur's letters to Ruth, and Ruth's novel intertwined. I found myself looking forward to each section, but particularly to glimpses of Arthur, who even in his grief is a delight. His actions are odd but understandable; on the other hand, it's hard to believe the doctor's wife, who seems to have no friends to notice her absence or increasingly strange behavior and appearance. The book is thoroughly depressing, but the characters stuck with m ...more
Apr 24, 2014 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is most definitely a very unusual story. It is a story within a story within a story and they each contribute a strange mystery. I am left with sorrow, loss and redemption unfulfilled. This is a disturbing and dark tale and it was hard to put it down even though at certain points you wanted to escape these people and their delusions and sadness. I liked the book very much and would recommend it to all who like mystery and madness combined or maybe self-delusion would better describe the cha ...more
Jun 11, 2010 Catherine rated it liked it
This book begins well - it starts with a wife who discovers her husband has been having an affair and then on the way home hits someone with her car. This first part reads like a psychological thriller and the style draws you in and makes you want to read more. However, after that the style changes- prose becomes much more wordy (lots of lengthy descriptions and metaphors) to the extent that I found myself skimming over irrelevant sections. It is also mixed with another story which is written by ...more
Bev Sturgis
Jun 22, 2015 Bev Sturgis rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katherine Webb
Oct 14, 2013 Katherine Webb rated it really liked it
This is beautiful, poetic writing - and in places it has the ambiguity, even the impenetrability, of some poetry, and I can understand why this has led some people to find it a slow read. It's highly original and, I found, extremely powerful. It examines loss, guilt, and the loneliness of knowing that your life is one more lost story, intertwined with all the other billions of lost human stories going on all around us now and back through time. I found the final chapter absolutely devastating - ...more
Jun 25, 2016 JenniferB rated it liked it
Again disturbing but compelling. I preferred her earlier three novels
Dec 13, 2014 Tfalcone rated it really liked it
Well written, story kept me interested. Not really a mystery.
Charlie Bouchard
Aug 04, 2015 Charlie Bouchard rated it liked it
The story takes a while to get under way and then drags on and on. Not a very believable tale, the author stretches to make scenes fit together.
Oct 16, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Great book. Something a bit different
Mar 30, 2010 Debbie rated it liked it
I would give this four stars for writing and atmosphere, but I feel so adrift as to what really happened, that is, who the narrator was and what she was about that I can't quite to it. A woman is involved in a hit and run. The woman hit was riding her bike and was killed instantly. The narrator insinuates herself into the grieving elderly widower's life. Interspersed are chapters from a family saga written by the dead woman, a story which oddly echoes the memories of the narrator. Or do they? Or ...more
Jan 22, 2016 Jan rated it it was amazing
Great story. I enjoyed it.
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She is the author of six novels, including the Sara Selkirk series, and the Silver Dagger winning Half Broken Things. She began writing in 1996 after a short story of hers was runner-up in a national competition sponsored by Good Housekeeping magazine. A visit to the Roman Baths with crime writer P.D. James germinated the plot of her first novel, Funeral Music, the first in the Sara Selkirk series ...more
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