89. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Iain Reid)

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-6-08-49-pm“I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays.  It sticks.  It lingers.  It dominates.  There’s not much I can do about it.  Trust me.  It doesn’t go away.  It’s there whether I like it or not.  It’s there when I eat.  When I go to bed.  It’s there when I sleep.  It’s there when I was up.  It’s always there.  Always.”

How can you read that first paragraph and not continue reading?  It draws you right in from the beginning and starts the reader asking questions.  The reader considers what these opening sentences really mean? I am thinking of ending things – ending what?  a life?  a relationship?

If you are looking for a quick read that keeps you you guessing, I Am Thinking of Ending Things is a good choice.  This book book club choice for November here each of us are reading and discussing a thriller of our choice.  It also covers off the October book choice/thriller for the CanadianContent Goodreads group.  I enjoyed the quick pace and it had me puzzling from beginning to end.  I am looking forward to having an open discussion without worrying about spoilers (note that I am being careful in this post).

By page 6, I had looked up two words in the dictionary.  Did you know that a cruciverbailist is is a person skilled at building or solving crossword puzzles?  It is not really a role that comes up in general conversation but an interesting fun fact.  I also had to review the meaning of ipseity which is another word for selfhood or individuality that is not typically spoken.  The narrator described Jake, who has used both these obscure words, as a bright guy, working in a lab with more questions than answers.

As I progressed through the pages, I had a number of different theories until the very end and found this to be a unique story interspersed with clues and comments, from other bystanders, between paragraphs.  The female narrator was not named in the story.  The narrator made some unusual choices which reinforced Joy Fielding‘s opinion that men struggle to write from a woman’s point of view.  I will leave the reader to discover what those choices were but will share that I had a greater understanding for the reasons for this by the end (being vague not to spoil the ending).

This was the debut novel written by Iain Hamilton who was born in Ottawa and lives in Kingston.  He was the recipient of the 2015 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award as nominated by Plum Johnson and has written 2 non-fiction books.  As he is only in his mid-thirties, expect him to be a writer to watch!  I will be looking for his next novel and hope to have a chance to meet him at a book event in the future.

“Stories based on actual events often share more with fiction than fact.  Both fictions and memories are recalled and retold.  They’re both forms of stories.  Stories are the way we learn.  Stories are how we understand each other.  But reality happens only once.”

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