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Published: September 4, 2018
My Copy Came From: NetGalley
Read Via: Kindle
My Like Level: 4 out of 5
Book Synopsis from Amazon:
A taut, psychological mind-bender from the bestselling author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things.
We don’t get visitors. Not out here. We never have.
In Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm…very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won’t have a chance to miss him, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company. Familiar company.
Told in Reid’s sharp and evocative style, Foe examines the nature of domestic relationships, self-determination, and what it means to be (or not to be) a person. An eerily entrancing page-turner, it churns with unease and suspense from the first words to its shocking finale.
Oh my goodness I loved this! First of all, it was under 300 pages which is shorter than most books I read. This was refreshing because I feel like many times writers stretch their stories longer than they need to be, just to hit the average word count of best sellers. Because Foe relies on elements of slow-building suspense culminating in a knock you off your seat surprise ending, my review needs to be written carefully. I would hate to write it in a way that would spoil any of the story.
This book was very, very suspenseful. It is told from the perspective of one of our main characters, Junior. Being inside Juniors head really gave me an inside look at his thoughts at the strange situation he has unwillingly been placed in. As you read above in the book summary, Junior and Henrietta live quite a ways outside of town. So when a visitor shows up late one night, it is very out of the ordinary. It becomes even stranger when the visitor introduces himself as Terrance. A representative from a well known company called Outermore. Outermore is a global organization that was formed over six decades ago, and began as a driver less car company. The global company now has much grander ambitions and is working towards the resettling of humans away from Earth as well as further space exploration. (Sounds like real life company Tesla and Space X!) Junior has been selected as a potential candidate for their first trip to “The Installation”. This trip will take him away from Henrietta for at least two years, and they will have minimal if any, communication capabilities. Junior will not have a choice whether to go or not if chosen. For the next two years, they will be interviewed and monitored from time to time by Terrance in preparation for Outermores decision. Thus begins the psychological journey we go on with this couple. There are so many questions raised, the most important one being how will their relationship survive such a strange, forced, temporary separation. When they express these concerns to Terrance, he excitedly says not to worry. They will be sending a replacement to keep Henrietta company while Junior is away. A literal clone of him! What could go wrong? Haha.
At this point, I am not going to give any more of this story away. It builds so slowly and I was hooked on every word. This is a book that you need to read very closely. To be honest, I think this would be a great one to read a second time. There are many details I probably overlooked. Make sure to be very attentive to details and small character actions, or the surprise ending may go right over your head. I felt very proud of myself that I got it right away. I patted myself on the back after picking my jaw up off the floor that I caught what had happened. This is a great book to read in one sitting, and I really think it will appeal to readers with all sorts of tastes. Don’t let the “he’s going into space” thing deter you. This is not a sci-fi space book. It is a thriller, with a twist.
PS: This book reminds me of my two of my favorite shows The Twilight Zone & Black Mirror.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher Gallery/Scout Press for this Advanced Readers Edition of Foe: A Novel by Iain Reid.
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Nice review! Sounds like a great read.