Wow! It was impressive! It was unique! It was different!
Well, I have never been a great fan of anything slow burn but this brilliant author achieved amazing job and attracted my attention with the detailed, objective, photographic depictions and perfectly rounded characterization. This book is not a big mystery about unsolved case of a young woman’s dying. This is also not only about obsession of the sister she left behind or the grief of whole family recently changed their residents and trying their best to move on with their lives.
This story is mostly about racism, class differences and privileges. The story-telling captivates you and you just enjoy yourself to get lost in author’s long, meaningful sentences. First she takes us to non-exist tropical by showing us photographic, impeccably visualized details and make you believe that island and its rich visitors are real. And of course don’t forget to get your thickest coat and free your mind about the dirtiness, too much crowd, being hauled or bumped by several people because she also takes us a trip to show the realistic parts of New York ( definitely found my New York at those pages !)
In the middle of 1990’s, the family’s vacation at a spectacular tropical island doesn’t end well as they expected. Their 18 year old girl Allison is missing. A famous actor and his girlfriend accidentally find her corpse in the waters of Faraway Cay. The police interrogate several people including blond boy hanged out several times with Allison and they couldn’t find any proper motive and let him go so this event turns into a local mystery that has never been solved.
Allison’s little sister (only seven) watches every move of her sister during their holiday as like she is the responsible one. She doesn’t care Allison promises her pineapples, shells or stars, she just want to have more time with her. One night, she falls asleep and when she wakes up she finds out that her sister will never come back!
So the story moves to the present time. We meet grown up Claire, living in the city never sleeps, trying to make her ends meet. One day she climbs into a cab and as soon as she finds out cab driver’s name: Clive Richardson, her entire life changes because the guy is the very same blond boy who has been questioned and released during their holiday. Claire’ obsession takes control of her to find out what happened to her sister.
What I truly like about this book: WRITING. WRITING. WRITING. Photographic, detailed, objective depictions. It questions the unfairness of privileges and inequality between rich and poor, races.
What I didn’t like about the book: Both of the girls were so annoying for me. (Allison in the past and Claire in the present.) I want to slap them or scream their face: “Get a life!” They were privileged pretentious spoiled girls that I really detest so of course I had really hard time to connect with them.
And about the ending: Of course it is not what I expected. But surprisingly I liked the conclusion. I know most of the readers won’t agree with me but I always enjoy to get a few steps behind an author’s brilliance, especially when it comes to solve a mystery or revealing a secret, big ugly truth.
Overall: Even though I hate the guts of the characters and fantasized to punch them 24/7, this book is promising, very-good written, highly anticipated, successful debut.
Special thanks to Netgalley and Celadon Books to share this one of the most anticipated books of 2020’s ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review. And I truly congratulate Alexis Schaitkin with her brilliant debut novel.