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ARC Book Review: ‘The Discomfort of the Evening’ by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

Title: The Discomfort of the Evening

Author: Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

Length: 282 pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber Books

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this beautiful book and I can gladly say it disappoint.

Synopsis: Jas lives with her devout farming family in the rural Netherlands. One winter’s day, her older brother joins an ice skating trip; resentful at being left alone, she makes a perverse plea to God; he never returns. As grief overwhelms the farm, Jas retreats into increasingly disturbing fantasies, watching her family disintegrate into a darkness that threatens to derail them all.

We follow Jas, who after not being allowed Ice skating and her brother is, wishes he was dead. Then, when he does die, we see the family deal with the grief.

The Discomfort of the Evening deals with grief so beautifully and honestly. It’s shows it in its every form. It really makes you appreciate all the choices these characters make from their sadness. It’s devastating. The grief is so poignant, so left unsaid. Marieke just capture it beautiful and shines a light on it.

This book was so immersive. I thought of nothing else while reading it. Now don’t get me wrong, there was some dark subject matter in here. It was even brutal at times, but it fit in with the story. Everything was a reaction to the grief.

Can we talk about the end of the book? It broke my heart. I didn’t see it coming, yet it made perfect sense. It’s an ending I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I can say I had a little cry.

I read this at the beginning of February and I’ve saved the review for its publication date and I can’t stop thinking about this book. It gets under your skin. It’s hard to explain. It’s so cohesive and compact. It’s just absolutely fantastic.

This book is dark, honest and so sure of itself. It’ll sweep you up in the emotions and won’t let you go until it ends. It probably won’t even let you go then. Marieke’s characterisation is out of this world. She captures the darkness that Jas slips into perfectly. It’s mesmerising. This is Marieke debut novel, and I think it’s safe to say there’s a new talent on the scene.

It’s also just been longlisted for the International Booker Prize for 2020. I can’t say I’m surprised, this book is definitely worthy of it. I can’t recommend it enough.

Thank you to Josh at Faber & Faber for gifting we with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review


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