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The Gloaming

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,043 ratings  ·  185 reviews
Pilgrim's husband left her for another woman, stranding her in a Swiss town where she is involved in an accident that leaves three children dead. Cleared of responsibility though overcome with guilt, she absconds to Africa, befriending a series of locals each with their own tragic past.

Mysteriously, the remains of an albino appear, spooking everyonesign of a curse placed
Paperback, 308 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Two Dollar Radio (first published March 12th 2014)
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Melanie Finn
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  1,043 ratings  ·  185 reviews

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May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: brave souls
Recommended to Jaidee by: Diane S ☔
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 "terrifying, savage, dismal" stars !!

The Silver Award Winner of 2018 (second favorite read)

Throughout the reading of this novel I trembled in fear, dread and hopelessness.

A woman named Pilgrim Jones is abandoned by her husband in Switzerland and travels to Tanzania. We move back and forth through time and we find out slowly, ominously and terrifyingly her narrative of trauma, grief and immense guilt. A guilt so powerful that she offers herself up for sacrifice. She is lost to herself and
Diane S ☔
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Pilgrim Jones, finds herself abandoned in a Swiss town, her supposedly loving husband having left her for another woman, a woman already expecting their first child. Heartbroken and unmoored, she is involved in an accident that kills three young children. Although cleared of responsibility for the accident, Pilgrim cannot forgive herself and makes her way to Tanzania, trying to escape her past. There she will meet people also running from their pasts in various says. She will, also be followed ...more
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Robin by: Jaidee
I'm not surprised this book made many cool lists, including a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2016. But, be warned: it's not simply "notable", as in, hmmm, tilt head, bite pencil eraser lightly before scratching down an impression that feels sufficiently important. It's notable on steroids, as a gnarled hand strains out from the pages, grips your chin aggressively, whiplashes you, points your face at the page, guttural voice screaming "NOTE THIS!! NOTE IT!"

That's how notable this book
Elyse  Walters
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"The Gloaming", is a sophisticated psychological impressive novel...with an intense
shocking ending.

The main character is named Pilgrim ( interesting don't you think?). Pilgrim Jones.
At the beginning of the story she seems as happy as can be living in Geneva... in love with her husband Tom. There isn't a day they don't make love with one another.
There is another woman named Elise. Long story short, Elise is pregnant and Tom leaves Pilgrim for her. Just like that. He's even 'nice' about
lark benobi
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel gripped me, as in, by the throat. I'm not sure that it works entirely as a coherent story--the author seems to want happy endings all around but a few of the characters definitely get the short end--but I'm just going to let it go, dears, because the writing is brilliant. Finn's eye for scenic detail reminded me of the great travel journalists Ryszard Kapuściński and Paul Theroux. Her fiction is full of grit and threat. I could see what was going on in every scene, in a visceral and ...more
Helene Jeppesen
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea what to expect from this book since I didn't know much about neither the story nor the author. I found the beginning very puzzling because it takes place both in Europe and in Africa, but I quickly came to realize that this is one of those books created like a jigsaw. You get hints along the way, but you won't get the complete picture until the end.
The protagonist, Pilgrim, has done something unforgivable in her past which has forced her to go to Africa. As we realize what she has
Delighted to see this on the Guardian-run Not the Booker Prize shortlist. Its a powerful story of regret and the search for redemption. Though it has elements of a straightforward psychological thriller, the daring structure and moral complexities are more akin to Graham Greene. In alternating chapters, Pilgrim Jones contrasts flashbacks to her car accident and the subsequent investigation back in Switzerland with her present-tense African odyssey. This is Conrads Africa, a continent ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Often very impressive and always compelling, convincing and involving. Very occasional slippages into soapishly-melodramatic dialogue never seriously detract from the overall success of the novel.
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was ok

Wait...THAT'S IT??? So vague and unsatisfying. Like what's up with the ending, what the hell did that mean? What's the point? And Why? How? What? Who?

Weird but not THAT weird. Could have been better since it's been paving a creepy path since the first few chapters. UGHHHHH disappointing.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a review copy of this title from Two Dollar Radio via Edelweiss.

The country of Tanzania has one of the highest rates of albinism in the world, but it is also one of the most dangerous places for albinos to live. They are shunned by their communities because they are viewed as ghosts who dwell on earth and never die. They also live in constant fear of violence because body parts from albinos are sought out to be used in potions made by African witch doctors. When Pilgrim Jones, the
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a remarkable book that surprised and enthralled me from start to finish.
A new author to me; a book read on summary and outline but which surpassed my expectations.
It is one of the bonuses of NetGalley and publishers who promote their books for a honest apprasal and review. The other real advantage of this read and review process as it allows me to access genres and subects I might pass over in the rush to read the next crime thriller.
I am also a sucker for a manipulated timeframe and a
Book Riot Community
A dark, intense novel of mystery about a woman, Pilgrim, who is fleeing the disaster that was her marriage, and, overcome with guilt after a horrible accident, runs off to Africa to lick her wounds. But when a body turns up and is suspected of being a curse created by witchcraft, she and the towns citizens are set on edge trying to figure out the curses intended recipient. Not helping with matters is Pilgrims sinking feeling that shes being followed. Did I mention it was dark? Its also terrific. ...more
Joachim Stoop
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Original, dark, claustrophobic. But not my book.

btw. it didn't help that for the zillionth time Africa was described as a savage, primitive, scourching inferno full of murder, ghosts, witch doctors, orphans, aids and wildlings. Is this still the full story of that continent, yes? Strange for a writer who was born there
Edward  Goetz
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature, 2017
There are a lot of good reviews on this book, so I will not rehash the plot, merely speak to what I loved about it.

It's a great story, complex, and ultimately satisfying. Ms. Finn's writing is gorgeous. As an avid reader, I really enjoyed the structure of her sentences and her choice of words.

Finally, within the book, were several instances of the reality we all live in. What I mean is, the author made me think about life and how to live it through her characters and story. I find that special.

Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Starts off beautifully. I was captivated by Pilgrim, by the language, the slowly unfolding, yet quiet horror of her story. Soon I was enraptured by descriptions of Africa, of strangers in strange lands, and the intrigue of new characters. So what happened? At a critical point in the story, we no longer "hear" from Pilgrim. Instead, an assortment of supporting characters take over and while a few pieces of the plot are filled in, it seems the reader is left drifting further and further away as ...more
Robert Blumenthal
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure about this book after about 50 pages. I really liked the writing and the general story line, but I was afraid that it would be a bit too intense and lurid for my taste. Make no mistake, the author pulls no punches--there are scenes of animal torture, abuse, mercenary killings, and wicked thoughts. However, these become less frequent as the novel evolves, and it becomes quite gripping and very thought provoking.

A beautiful 32-year-old American woman is abandoned by her husband for
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
The title of Melanie Finns novelTHE GLOAMINGevokes a mood of impending darkness filled with beautiful light. The late evening light, soft and translucent, has made the world benign. The book delivers on this promise in a tale filled with tragedy, but offering paths to redemption. The protagonists namePilgrimalso is evocative because she is on a pilgrimage of sorts from betrayal, death and ostracism to self-realization. In a way, THE GLOAMING reminds one of Bunyans allegory (Pilgrims Progress), ...more
Dannielle Insalaco
Interesting in a quiet way that gets under your skin.
Cherise Wolas
A richly textured and finely plotted literary thriller/mystery set in Switzerland and Tanzania. Pilgrim Jones, the narrator of the first 175 pages, married to an influential human rights lawyer, finds her marriage undone and herself abandoned and alone in a Swiss canton, which sets off a lethal event. When she wakes, she's in a Swiss hospital, her car having skidded in the rain into a bus stop where children were waiting to be taken to an amusement park for the day. Violence and loss are at the ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Nothing is explained in this book. Everything is so vague and it does not make sense. I do not know what in the hell happened at the end. Please explain if you can figure it out. This one was not for me.

Samantha Colwell
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
"I saw her face and she did not know that she was dying, did not know I was killing her."

This novel was on a few trustworthy reading lists, but it was really the aesthetics of the cover that drew me in. I added it immediately to my "Wish List" for my library, and when my branch manager made the purchase, I was ecstatic. The physical novel itself (published by the amazing indie Two Dollar Radio ) is without a doubt one of the finest things I've held in my hand in a long while. I'm a new devotee
Andy Weston
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flies. War. Pollution. Sewage. Divorce. Adultery. Alcoholics. Mercenaries. Puppy torture. Haemorrhage. Stillbirths. Dead mothers. Cancer. Assault. Rape. Murder. Switzerland. The miseries come fast, and thick...

A quote from the start of Sam Jordisons review for the Guardian. Finns book was shortlisted for the Not The Booker Prize this year, 2017.

The first half of the novel is narrated by the protagonist, Pilgrim Jones, and jumps around three time periods, in Switzerland, then the others in
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sometimes you find just the right book at the right time for a little bibliotherapy. This book captured the aftermath numbness of being dumped. Not only has Pilgrim Jones' human rights attorney husband left her, but he has stranded her and set her adrift in a small town in Switzerland. After constantly travelling the world with her husband, she has no home and no friends. When she accidentally strikes and kills 3 of the town's children with her car and incurs the wrath of the locals, she flees ...more
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Give me a book set in Africa and I am one happy reader! Having spent time in both Kenya and South Africa I feel a deep affinity for those countries and the people who live there. Shame captures the lightness and charm of these people perfectly. The thought process they use and the way they speak is utterly delightful. Africans love their parables and Shame weaves that sense of moral right and wrong (and the many spades of gray in between) into a beautiful tapestry of story.

Shame is a rare little
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It took me a little longer to read, but it was worth it. The smaller chapters through the eyes of different characters witnessing our character's trials and tribulations were my favorite part. They forgive where she grieves and mounts a case for a theological and philosophical guilt all transgressors must have in their hearts. The thrilling parts can look ordinary, but only a sloppy reader would assume this is a mere genre beach read. It's lyrical and questions the motivations of storytelling ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I feel several ways about The Gloaming. Its very well crafted and the second half of the novel told from varied povs made it much more much more interesting. I loved how the perspective changed and added depth to the novel. The writing is beautiful. But I was a smidge uncomfortable with the idea of Africa as a place where white people go to disappear or atone. And there is a magical Negro who may be a ghost.

I''m making it sound bad and it isn't at all - I think I am just really sensitive right
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book quite a lot, actually. The prose is very taut and there's an abstraction to the narrative that I find appealing. There is a lot here that is unusual and unorthodox, from the anti-chronological structure that swings back and forth like a butterfly knife to the emptiness of the lead character. It's a bit of a joyless book, but sometimes life is a joyless thing. Some of the scenes and moments are perfect sketches that stayed with me in my waking hours for several days. In ...more
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A slow-burn novel with mysterious layers, The Gloaming feels like the type of literary mystery (albeit the slightly unsatisfying, slightly unexplained kind) that could easily go mainstream if it was given the right opportunity. Finn succeeds at building an atmosphere that suggests menace without immediate threat, and there's something strangely claustrophobic about Pilgrim's situation even as she moves to larger and larger playing fields.
Carrie Schindele Cupples
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
I have read all the reviews posted here so far and the NYTimes book review. Many say it better, but this book is simply -- evocative. It is suspenseful and thought-provoking. I am so taken with Finn's vivid depiction of Africa, as place and as people, which was only one of the layers in this gem of a read. I was simultaneously frightened and drawn forward in this story until the finish.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
What the actual f? Fatal Swiss auto accident, infidelity, feral African children torturing puppies, albino body parts in a box, psycho mercenary rapist, & a privileged, clueless, guilt-driven protagonist wandering aimlessly through this pretentious allegorical shitstorm. I can't take any more, DNF.
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Melanie Finn has worked as a screenwriter and a journalist, and is the founder and director of the Natron Health Project, which brings healthcare to Maasai communities in Northern Tanzania. Her first novel, Away From You, was published to great critical acclaim in 2004, and was longlisted for the ORANGE and IMPAC PRIZEs. Her second novel, The Gloaming (published as Shame in the UK), was a New York ...more

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