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The Night Following

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  239 ratings  ·  48 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 452)
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J.
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
...more
Eva Mitnick
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
Ann
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
Heather
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
...more
Hippystick
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
...more
Billpilgrim
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
Rebecca
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
Tonya
Nov 07, 2011 Tonya rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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!
...more
Daniel Parsons
Nov 02, 2009 Daniel Parsons rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
Julie
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
...more
Tom Carrico
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
...more
Michael
Feb 26, 2009 Michael rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
...more
Pat
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
Moira
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
Danielle Dinh
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
...more
Sherry
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
Marvin
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
Catherine
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
Katherine Webb
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
Debbie
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
Timothy Hinkle
This is an amazing book. The prose is gorgeous. I felt as if the words were wrapping me up and cradling me, helping me to find peace. The calm tone of the book seems like it ought to be somewhat at odds with a narrative centered on wrongful death and other painful losses, but all of the first person narration beautifully captures very real emotions: anger, fear and numbness. After a single terrible moment destroys their ways of life, the two main characters make from what remains a world they ca ...more
Kristin
This is about a doctor's wife who discovers her husband is having an affair. On her way to the hospital to confront him she accidently hits and kills a woman on a bike, panics and drives away. We follow 3 stories in the book. The story of how she comes undone with guilt, the story of the woman's grieving widow and also a fictional story the woman who was killed wrote. It was O.K. I thought the ending would be more interesting than it was.
Tory Wagner
Though I have finished the book, I still can't decide if I liked it or not. It had a very melancholy feel to it and I definatly didn't like the main character. On the other hand, I had a hard time putting it down. This isn't an easy book to read and although I've shelved it with my mysteries, it certainly isn't a typical one. The language is dense and in some parts wordy, but the elegance of certain phrases keeps you reading.
Debbie
May 29, 2011 Debbie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those looking for something written a little differently
Recommended to Debbie by: goodreads
The theme of blindness- going blindas you get older, going blind due to a shock and functioning as a seeing person but in absolute darkness are juxtaposed here. and of course being in the dask about what is actually going on in your life that awful figurative blindness. I liked this book but its eerie, best read with light!
J. Ewbank
This book by Morag Joss is a very unusual book, weird even but the plot can catch you and drag you along through the book. It is interesting how she weaves three different plot lines through the book. It was interesting.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
Karyn
Sep 12, 2008 Karyn added it
The premise of the book is promising, intriguing plot line but the execution becomes lackluster about halfway through and never really improves. It was a pleasant read, though, and I really like her use of words to convey a homey, domestic feel and a solitary, calm atmosphere.
pb
It's a beautifully written book. It weaves together a narrative, letters from a grieving husband and a novel within the novel. All three start to meld together, as do the characters. It gets a little weird towards the end and unfortunately doesn't finish as well it started.
Patricia
Started out ok then grabbed my interest. I was actually more interested in the story within a story. It got a little too weird toward the end. Plus, I didn't really get how Ruth came to write the story about the hit and run driver's life. What did I miss?
Robin Ripley
This is the second book I've read by Morag Joss. Are all of her books populated by people with a twisted talent for self delusion and self destruction? With each step her characters take, you become more and more appalled. How could anyone do that?
Anna
Jan 17, 2010 Anna rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: audio
I listened to this on audio and the three readers are tremendous. My rating is really the book - 2 stars - but a rating for the audio is more like 4 and a half stars. I loved the story that Ruth was writing much more than the other two stories.
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103678
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
More about Morag Joss...
Half Broken Things Among the Missing Our Picnics in the Sun Funeral Music Puccini's Ghosts

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