My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - Over two days
Pages - 384
Publisher - Warner Books
Source - Waterstones
Blurb from Goodreads
Receiving a manuscript and request for feedback from her vengeful ex-husband of fifteen years, Susan Morrow is drawn into the life of the story's fictional character and confronts a devastating parallel darkness from her own past.
Austin Wright's novel is a disturbing and dazzling work: it describes a special reading experience, combines the suggestiveness of a thriller and the depth of a psychological novel. He talks about fear and regret, revenge and maturation, marriage and failure.
This book splits into two, Susan receives a manuscript from her ex husband for some feedback. We slip between the story within the manuscript and Susan herself as she readies herself to read it, absorb it, her thoughts on both the story and all it conjures up. Her past, her life with Edward (ex husband), her current husband and really her thoughts on everything from the past to the present and what the stories conjures up in her. The manuscript story itself "Nocturnal Animals" started off really strong and pretty frightening because of how easy you could see it happening to anyone.
The pace threw me a bit, Susan's story is such a different pace as you aren't too sure what is the significance of getting the manuscript. I'm still not if I am honest, I got a bit lost within the stories, I followed the manuscript story so much easier and then the closer it came to an end I was a bit lost as to where it was going. I think Wright was trying to do something with both these stories and I personally just didn't get it. I was left with so many questions, I found some of the dialogue with the characters clunky, not flowing as other characters interactions did.
I would say, looking at other reviews and feedback on this book I think I am in a minority as so many loved or really enjoyed it. I think that is possibly more about me as a reader than the actual authors writing, sometimes a book just isn't for that specific reader and I think this may be what happened here. I went back and forth on if this was a two or three star for me, I think I have to go with a 2.5 as I didn't get the book, I didn't enjoy most of it. I think the message or what the author was trying to do was completely lost on me and I am happy to blame the reader in this case. I would say give it a try, see how you get on with it and I would love to hear your thoughts.