The Insect Farm

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It it won’t be long until I head out the the Fayette County Fair but, before then, I want to get caught up a bit on my reviewing…  This time it’s The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble.  This one looked sufficiently creepy and interesting enough that I requested a reviewer’s copy through Net Galley and they were kind enough to approve it in exchange for my review.

As usual, here is the quick synopsis of the book so that you know a little bit about it…
The Maguire brothers each have their own driving, single-minded obsession. For Jonathan, it is his magnificent, talented, and desirable wife, Harriet. For Roger, it is the elaborate universe he has constructed in a shed in their parents’ garden, populated by millions of tiny insects. While Jonathan’s pursuit of Harriet leads him to feelings of jealousy and anguish, Roger’s immersion in the world he has created reveals a capability and talent which are absent from his everyday life. Roger is known to all as a loving, protective, yet simple man, but the ever-growing complexity of the insect farm suggests that he is capable of far more than anyone believes. Following a series of strange and disturbing incidents, Jonathan begins to question every story he has ever been told about his brother–and if he has so completely misjudged Roger’s mind, what else might he have overlooked about his family, and himself?

The Insect Farm is a dramatic psychological thriller about the secrets we keep from those we love most, and the extent to which the people closest to us are also the most unknowable. 

Sounds a wee bit dark and creepy, doesn’t it?  Especially when you look at the cover as well.

Strangely enough, it really isn’t.  Or at least not as much as I had been expecting.  It’s a character driven novel that deals with what one character is thinking, and feeling, and is completely unsure about.  And, because this character is narrating the book and doesn’t know any more than he’s telling you – the reader – any revelations or surprises are shocking to him as well.

Okay, I’ll admit that I wasn’t actually surprised by any of the “shocks” or “twists” toward the end.  But that didn’t take away from the writing and the talent of the author.  Because the book takes place in the fairly recent past, there’s kind of an old-school feel to the story.  In fact, I couldn’t help but be reminded of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.  Totally different story, some similar character elements as the narrator is growing up, and similar straightforwardness in the author’s writing skills…

Unfortunately, this novel probably won’t be one that I ever read again – I guess when you’ve completed a ‘thriller’ or something that leads you on with what you don’t know and need to find out, once you know the ending, you can’t go back and get the same satisfaction.

But, if you find yourself curious about this one, I’d highly recommend it.  I need to figure out my own unique rating system (stars and thumbs up being so yesterday), but in any rating system, this one does phenomenally well.  Now…what to read next?!?  After this one, I think a comedy is definitely in order…

 

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