"Where" Book Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Published by Tor Books
Written by Kit Reed
2015, 221 pages, Fiction
Published May 12, 2015
David just isn't sure about Merrill. Yes, they've been living together in the small coastal town of Kraven for five years, and yes, when he saw her with that slick real estate developer Rawson Steele he was incredibly jealous. But he just isn't ready to "put up or shut up" like Merrill wants. That is, until Merrill and the rest of Kraven Island vanish without a trace. David must spend a frantic 48 hours trying to find where...or when...Merrill has gone, or lose her forever.
I had a very difficult time giving Where a star rating because I am so bewildered by this book. I'm sure there's a theological allegory in here, but the writing is so dense and the timespan so meandering, it's lost on me. Here are a few of my possible theories for fun:
- Merrill and the rest of the islanders all have something they need to atone for; a secret sin, a long hidden regret. The mysterious, blank place where they are trapped is purgatory, but instead of continuing to heaven or hell their choices bring them back to earth.
- It's a metaphor for not waiting too long to live your life. If you love something or someone, you have to take action and address it while it's in front of you.
- Things are not always what they seem. Your friends or family may be civil and kind, but mass fear leads to mob hysteria. Rely only on yourself; you will be betrayed.
- Don't trust strangers, because they could be the devil. Or Jesus. One of those. Or not.
It's an interesting concept, that's for sure. But with so much time to cover so little discovery, the pace drags. David languishes as he searches the island; Merrill hides in her blank house in the blank space and evaluates her life choices until it feels like a morose conversation with your friend who can't let the past die.
I, as a reader, prefer fantastic events to be explained. My favorite book of all-HorrorTalk-time, Last Days by Adam Nevill, is so detailed I thought it was historical fiction and spent time looking for the paintings Nevill referenced (they do not exist). He explicitly explains the why of what is happening to Kyle and his crew, and despite the how being so fantastical, it makes perfect sense. The reader gets no such closure from Where. The lost hours (weeks? months?) are not explained, nor do we know what happens after David finally finds out what happens to Merrill. It seems a bit unfinished in its current state.
I bet it would be great if you were baked. Or terrifying. One of those. Or not.
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