Jessica's Reviews > The Neighbour

The Neighbour by Julie Proudfoot
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really liked it

This precisely written thriller about the minutiae of ordinary people’s thoughts, actions and reactions after a mix up, an accident which may or may not have been one. The reader will never sneer at a health and safety manual again; a dull suburban setting familiar from any half affluent society is corroded and exposed after a series of careless and then over-careful events. It’s a book about control – about men and women attempting to control one another, about the vulnerability of children and animals, about how major trauma can make even the most twisted logic seem a rational guide to living and even the most repellent characters strangely sympathetic if only for the length of a fleeting phrase.
Like some other reviewers, after the lull of the first few paragraphs, the initial shock of the accident was too much for me for a while, and I needed a strong stomach to read on, the forceful pull of the plot not always able to overcome my need to turn away... Not wanting nightmares later on, I kept a safe distance from the text, ready to avert my horrified gaze from my Kindle as I barely skimmed the surface (an ironic image given that so much of the novel takes place in, around or under water). For that reason I can’t go back and comment on stylistic features, quote particular passages or single out specific incidents – I rushed gratefully on to the end and am left with a jumble of distorted events: the main character’s exact calibration of how long and what form a particular death might take; dialogue between people who cannot communicate; adjunct characters moving about helplessly as events unfurl and a mind unravels; thought processes made crazy through cyclical tragedy.
But I do know that what I have just read is brilliantly written, psychologically precise and a nail biting read that will not quickly be forgotten. Just make sure you have a comforting shoulder to reassure you as you go and that if you can’t quite cope with all that is thrown at you, well, you will not be alone.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 6, 2015 – Finished Reading
December 7, 2015 – Shelved

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