Published by Simon and Schuster on June 14, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Thrillers, Psychological, Suspense
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SOON TO BE A NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM DIRECTED BY CHARLIE KAUFMAN AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016
“I’m Thinking of Ending Things is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read. Iain Reid has crafted a tight, ferocious little book, with a persistent tenor of suspense that tightens and mounts toward its visionary, harrowing final pages” (Scott Heim, award-winning author of Mysterious Skin and We Disappear).
I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always.
Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”
And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.
In this “dark and compelling…unputdownable” (Booklist, starred review) literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel “packs a big psychological punch with a twisty story line and an ending that will leave readers breathless” (Library Journal, starred review).
How many times do we witness in the media about the importance of good mental health? How many people think – I’m thinking of ending things? It’s everywhere, except when its not. How long does checking on those family and friends that need us most last? Probably for the duration of mental health month…sad fact but true. Iain Reid has the insane ability to leave you feeling listless, inherently scared but not fully knowing why – initially. The opening has an almost poetic eeriness seeping into your psyche – you can imagine the scene…quietness, the darkness of night and you have the creeping feeling that you need to run, but you can’t – you have to keep reading.
“Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”
I’m thinking of ending things – the focus of the novel. A nameless narrator, a woman, is in a new relationship with Jake. He is an eccentric and quiet man who has a job as a lab technician. The first half of the novel delves into a drive to Jake’s parents farm. The back and forth interactions between them just sparked to me as mightily haunting. In our nameless narrators’ points of view, everything is marred by the seed of doubt that has sprouted in her mind – She is thinking of ending things. The author brilliantly sowed philosophical ruminations – it gave the novel a unique angle that I didn’t know I was ravenous for.
“The meaning of my existence is that life has addressed a question to me. Or, conversely, I myself am a question which is addressed to the world, and I must communicate my answer, for otherwise I am dependant upon the worlds answer.”
The genius in my opinion lies in the conversations between strangers. They don’t make a lot of sense at first, but the ending makes it all entirely clear and I read the story backwards it has an even more eerily threatening tone. Whilst reading it you don’t why you feel so scared, you just know you are. The twist was like a bomb to the chest – for some reason I didn’t expect it, but it quite literally took the breath from me. I felt like I was drowning in muddy waters – just when I made headway, it pulled me back under once again. Nothing is straightforward in this book. I personally love a book that can make me feel this way, I relished the discomfort. It made me think and had me looking over my shoulder. I am looking forward to my next Iain Reid read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Iain Reid is the author of two critically acclaimed, award-winning books of nonfiction. His internationally bestselling debut novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, has been published in more than twenty countries. Oscar-winner Charlie Kaufman is writing and directing a film based on the novel, which Reid will co-produce. His second novel, Foe, was an instant bestseller and feature film rights have been acquired by Anonymous Content, with Reid set to executive produce. Follow him on Twitter @Reid_Iain.
I heard an interview with the author (on NPR maybe?). It sounds like such an emotional read. The movie is going to be great.
I’ve heard from more than one person to read it backwards…. how does one do that? Chapter by chapter? Page by page?
I read it back page by page. I can’t begin to tell you how much sense it all makes when you do!