The new international bestseller from the author of phenomenal Child 44 trilogy...
If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son.
Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden. But with a single phone call, everything changes.
Your mother...she's not well, his father tells him. She's been imagining things - terrible, terrible things. She's had a psychotic breakdown, and been committed to a mental hospital.
Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: Everything that man has told you is a lie. I'm not mad... I need the police... Meet me at Heathrow.
Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother's unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.
©2014 Julia Dahl (P)2014 Hachette Audio
"His mastery of suspense will make any reader's heart pound." (Financial Times)
This was perhaps the worst book I've read in quite some time. Characters were very well described, and while the first few chapters were captivating, boredom set in shortly thereafter. The majority of the book is set in the eyes of the mother, her account of her childhood and also adult life after returning to her native Sweden. She tells of scandal and her husband's attempts to commit her to a psychiatric ward. Long story short though, the book lacked purpose, as little happens until the last chapter. Plot development is beyond slow... I would not recommend this book to others.
A lot disappointed me about The Farm. I did not care for the boring mom's endless, punishing recounting of her tale. I was staggered each time she repeated a mind-numbing detail, or produced a new, uninteresting storytelling device... A couple times I wondered if the author was deliberately trying to be boring. The Child 44 series was so outstanding, that I still love this author. But, please, TRS, no more like this one.
I made it to the end, is about all I can say. Thanks to a recommendation from a source I can usually trust, (Books on the Nightstand) I tried this book. There are a lot of twists and turns, all of which are incredibly predictable. And there is no subtext - everything is text. In case you miss some of the subtext, the author restates it on several occasions.
The readers capture the earnestness of the prose with breathless pronouncements. It's not their fault - the author wrote it this way. I kept thinking to myself, "Is she really that crazy?" , "Is he really that gullible"? Yes, yes they are.
I won't spoil it for you...though it's really hard to spoil. You'll see the ending coming a mile away.
After hearing about this audio book on the Books on the Nightstand podcast and knowing that Smith’s Child 44 books received high praise, I decided to check it out. First I have to talk about the two-person narration. It’s really effective and I think that’s because of the way it was done - it’s not a straightforward narration where each person has a set piece of the story, instead it’s interwoven together as mother and son have conversations. Each has large sections of text, but then they come together when Daniel asks a question and mom answers.
Anyway, it’s no secret that Tilde is a classic unreliable narrator. Her use of emotional blackmail is calculated and unattractive. She’s also a classic paranoid personality and her story is wild and crazy, but you wonder if it doesn’t have a kernel of truth. As a reader, you know it must, but where does the kernel lie? In which part of her story? Just don’t be in a hurry to find out. The pace is slow and because Tilde tells the story in the present, we know she survives to get to Daniel, and that takes some of the dread out of the story. A few of the current time scenes made up for that though. The ending, while totally conventional, explained her actions satisfactorily enough.
Smith’s execution is good, but a few things bugged me. Both mother and son make very stupid decisions which they tell you they made and wish they hadn’t. They also regret certain actions and second guess themselves a lot. When they tell you these things, it’s supposed to ratchet up the tension, but it was also faintly ridiculous and that worked against the intent. It’s laid on a bit thick.
Overall though, it’s engaging and different enough to make for a good story. Diverting and creepy with a touch of the villagers with pitchforks thing going on.
Spoiler: This story has lots of trolls. However, revealing this about the book won’t ruin a thing. The ruin is the telling of this story. Sadly, what could have been a much more suspenseful story - a son battling to make sense of his parents' mania, hiding a secret of his own, and a despicable crime - falls flat. Instead you have to endure the mother’s spotty account of events told in a frenzied monologue that makes you want her to be institutionalized as soon as possible. The twist, which is the 180 degree turn in the story you been waiting for, is discovered in an improbable way and leaves you wishing there was another chapter to make the read worthwhile.
Yes. I never really figured out who was telling the truth, or what the truth really was. I liked the setting and the characters.
The son. He was trying so hard to be fair to both of his parents. It is hard to know what to think when people you love are saying different things and both seem crazy.
I loved the son. And also the role of the mom.
I really liked it all the way through.
Some of the locals were particularly unappealing. They just seemed unreal. Still, if they were in some kind of cult, I would imagine that it could actually happen. I have seen parents make really bad decisions late in life and how surprising it can be for grown kids. I think the book was believable.
I never though I would get through this book! It was surprisingly awful. I expected a story comparable to "Child 44," but instead, I spent eight or nine hours listening to the meandering delusions of an old women. The setting in England and then Sweden didn't seem authentic for some reason. I finished it for the sake of finishing it, but it took a lot of effort to power through. The story is drawn out and languishes over so many mundane details that it's painful. I have never been so glad to finish a book in my life. Do yourself a favor
and skip this one.
this story is a wild ride with lots of twists and truns
I got teary a few times
I love Tom Rob Smith books. This book is totaly dfiferent than Child 44 but equally as good. It really keeps you scratching your head.
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