Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

9781925355079I’m Thinking of Ending Things is the kind of novel you’ll read with your stomach clenched, mouth dry, heart pounding in your chest. It’s compulsive, unnerving, and downright unputdownable. It’s by far the most tense, atmospheric, and suspenseful book I’ve read this year – and also one of the best. Seriously, just thinking about it now, that ending . . . I’ve got goosebumps. And an insatiable desire to read it again.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things is about the fragility of identity and reality. But such a summary belies its edginess, and its sheer incredible craftsmanship. Every word is necessary; every sentence and paragraph framed with precision. It is smart, it is spooky; it’s a can’t-put-down-thriller masquerading as an examination into the human psyche. It takes place over a single night. Jake and his girlfriend are on a road-trip through a snowstorm to visit his parents on a remote farm. Which is when things get strange. After dinner, they choose not to remain at the farm, and drive home. But the dinner – their brief stop at the farm – has unwoven something, and the night unravels fast, climaxing when he leaves her stranded at an abandoned high school . . .

It is a psychological thriller? A horror story? An amalgamation? I’m Thinking of Ending Things is the kind of novel that defies bookstore categorization. I’d hand it over to anyone who reads in either genre; fans of Stephen King; fans of Gone Girl. It helps that the novel is short – a couple hundred pages – and its momentum is unstoppable. So even if you’re not sure this is your thing, by the time you’re asking yourself that question, you’re a quarter of the way through the book, and by then, you’ll need to know what happens next. I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a masterwork of building intensity. It’s a masterpiece, full-stop.

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