Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The End of Everything

Megan Abbott is a rising star in the world of crime fiction, and I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to read one of her books, but on holiday I caught up with The End of Everything, her latest, a novel that has earned glowing reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.

It’s not hard to see why this book has earned such acclaim. The writing is absolutely top notch, and Megan Abbott’s style is such that she can achieve in the space of a relatively slim volume effects which others struggle to pull off in much bulkier novels.

This is a story about the relationship between fathers and daughters, or more broadly, between older men and teenage girls. The subject matter is delicate, but it is handled well and never sensationally. The story is told from the viewpoint of Lizzie, a thirteen year old whose best friend goes missing. There isn’t much doubt that she’s been abducted by a man called Shaw, but Abbott is more interested in the relationships between her characters than in a mysterious plot. And those relationships are depicted in a compelling way which had me gripped.

The one drawback to a crime novel written by a top flight author is that the culprit’s motivation is often inadequately drawn. So it is here. I anticipated the final ‘twist’ (though to call it that suggests this is a whodunit, which it isn’t, in any conventional sense) at an early point of the story, and I did wonder why the police did not focus their attention more on a particular individual rather than the obvious suspect. But this is a quibble – The End of Everything is a shining example of high calibre writing, and a fine achievement.


Deb said...

Do read Megan's other books, including DIE A LITTLE, QUEENPIN, and (especially) BURY ME DEEP. She writes hard-boiled noir from a female perspective. THE END OF EVERYTHING is a departure in era and tone from her previous work (although no less well-written).

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Deb, I will. She really can write well, whatever the subject.

Ben said...

I thought it was a nice kidney punch, the ending. You don't see it coming it's just short enough to let your mind freak out. Thought it lived up very well to her story

djskrimiblog said...

Megan is indeed wonderful when it comes to creating characters. I have only read Bury Me Deep so far, but it is one of the few reads from 2009 that I still remember clearly. I wanted to scream to the main character to run away - now! :)

Dorte H

Martin Edwards said...

Ben, Dorte, thanks very much. I don't think there's any real doubt, it's a terrific novel by a writer who is a class act