Unique and inventive story within a story



BOOK REVIEW:  5 stars


This book is a story within a story and is the basis of the new movie “Nocturnal Animals” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams. Susan, divorced from Edward and now married to Arnold, receives a letter from Edward, whom she hasn’t heard from in 20 years.  He’s written a book and wants her opinion.  His book is “Nocturnal Animals”, a very suspenseful thriller whose main character, Tony Hastings, is driving his wife and daughter to their summer home in Maine when they run into some seriously scary problems.

I wanted to read this book before seeing the movie but the only edition I could get from the library was the audio version. I haven’t listened to an audio book in a very long time but think I could get very used to being able to do other things, like cook dinner or work on a jigsaw puzzle, while someone is reading to me – nice!  I found this to be thoroughly addictive and stayed up late into the night wanting to hear just one more chapter.

The book smoothly moves back and forth between Edward’s novel and what’s happening to Susan as she reads this book. Susan begins to re-live her past with Edward.  She begins to wonder what type of man Edward has become and whether this book and Edward’s request for her to read it is his means of sending her some type of a message about their marriage.  Is he calling her to account for not trusting his ability to become an author?  The book started to drag a bit for me towards the end and Susan at times could be irritating but the ultimate endings of both stories was pitch perfect.  This is a literary work so don’t get it just for the thriller part.  It’s the type of literary work that will have different meaning to different readers and would be a great choice for discussion in a book club as it leaves a lot of questions in the reader’s mind.  I’ve actually seen this marketed as the new “Gone Girl” even though it was written in 1993.  This book is much more profound than “Gone Girl” will ever be.

A unique and inventive story about the power of the written word, the responsibility of authors to their readers, revenge, grief, marriage and trust. The movie has become a must see for me but I’m not sure if a movie version of this book will fly since it’s the author’s writing ability that shines more so than the story.  Though I’ve started another book, I can’t stop thinking about this one and know I will never forget it.  Sad that the author is no longer with us and won’t know of the revival his book has had.

Highly recommended.


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