Samantha's Reviews > Saint X

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin
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really liked it

A beautifully written, poignant portrait of what happens to those left behind after tragedy takes a loved one.

Saint X, at first blush, is the story of Allison Thomas, found dead on a Caribbean Island after a night out during a family vacation. But we come to find this isn’t really Allison’s story. It’s that of her parents, the men suspected of murdering her, and mostly of her younger sister, who is still seeking answers in adulthood, long after Allison’s death.

Schaitkin writes gorgeously and is a masterful observer of both human emotion and setting. Her characters are complex and compelling.

Allison is not the most sympathetic victim (her self righteousness and misplaced anger at her lovely parents make her off-putting, though certainly her flaws didn’t make her deserving of her fate).

Schaitkin mitigates this by acknowledging that about her victim. She draws Allison as a young woman of many contractions, which makes her realistic and somewhat relatable, if not entirely lovable to the reader.

I didn’t love the “solve” of what happened to Allison, though it’s likely more realistic than what we imagine we’ll find out. I can appreciate why Schaitkin wrote it this way, but after all the buildup, it feels a bit like watching a balloon slowly deflate. This is especially frustrating because as a reader one feels for Claire in her desperate search for answers, and while any answer is better than no answer in this situation, it’s still a bit vague and murky in the end.

Semi-limp ending aside, Saint X is incredibly well written and gives a fascinating glimpse into the many ways in which grief manifests.

*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
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Reading Progress

July 29, 2019 – Started Reading
July 29, 2019 – Shelved
August 13, 2019 – Finished Reading

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