Let me begin with a disclaimer of sorts: I believe Antoine Wilson is a strong writer, who is capable of producing a story that keeps a reader engaged. I am basing this in part on the other reviews I glanced at after reading this book. Lots of them said they felt engaged, couldn’t put it down, found it to be a page-turner.
As someone who spent many formative years in Canada, I also have a soft spot for Canadian writers, such as Mr. Wilson. I was rooting for this to be an engaging book.
The challenge I ran into with this novel is that when you have an unreliable narrator telling you therefore, unreliable things (which are clearly self-serving,) am I really supposed to be surprised that the natural outcome of his obsession and self-serving narrative is the destruction of another person?
While many of those who are leaving reviews talk about the “surprise twist-ending” I’m with the reviewer who asked, “What did you think was going to happen?”
For me, it was thus an interesting if unsurprising narrative.
This book combined with a few others I’ve read lately have left me wondering if sometimes neurodiverse readers just have a very different experience with a story compared to neurotypical readers. I have suspected sometimes that I’m missing nuances at play between characters. In this book, for example, there’s a scene near the end where it is revealed that one character has actually known a big secret that the point of view character (POV) has kept hidden the whole time. The POV character acts like this is a big deal. I couldn’t help but immediately think of a straightforward logical way of dealing with this complication and was mystified by why our scheming character was so dumbfounded and overwhelmed. I feel like I’m missing something here in the expectations around relationships between neurotypical people.
At the same time, it is pretty hard to surprise me. A twist isn’t much of a twist when you can see it coming from early in the story. I’ve heard/read other neurodiverse readers say something similar, “How did everyone not see that coming?”
Antoine Wilson, Canadian writer. If you’re neurodiverse, read and let me know if you perceived the ending ahead of time. If you’re neurotypical, you’ll love the surprise ending! 😉