The weather today has been abominable so I finished the latest staycation book much sooner than I had expected. The problem I am now faced with is that "I’m Thinking of Ending Things" is a psychological thriller/horror novel that is built on one twist. If I discuss the twist the book becomes pointless. Even an attempt to discuss it in a tangential way would cause the novel to diffuse into the air. So I will avoid it entirely.
Like all good psychological thrillers the book begins by making you uncomfortable from the start. There is nothing gruesome here, things just feel distorted and that distortion is unsettling. You keep waiting for the floor to drop out from under the female protagonist and for things to start going wrong. You know it is coming and in a way she does too. It’s just a matter of when and how.
The majority of the book is focused on a girlfriend and boyfriend having conversations during a road trip to the farm of the boyfriend’s parents. It is dark and snowing, the cold outside the car is oppressive and the landscape at night time narrows to a point surrounding their vehicle. The conversations they have are intellectual, but he is a know-it-all and more than once I recoiled the way she does when their conversations take a negative turn.
As a reader we get extra contextual information, we are privy to the female protagonist’s internal monologue. She has been in this relationship for a number of weeks and she is not convinced it is going to work out. She is thinking of ending things. Were I in her position I would have already.
Looking at him as he is driving she considers his flaws. Flaws anyone would discover were they to make a life with another person. She wonders what it would be like to listen to the same person digest food for years to come. After sex she observes his body with detachment, noticing details that make him less attractive to her. The odds are good that this relationship is going nowhere.
Right now the realtionship is taking her to his parents farm and on the way we learn she has been keeping a secret from him. She's getting phone calls late at night, the caller only leaves messages. Not abusive messages but strange ones. The caller starts leaving her messages on the commute and the story most forward from there.
With any fiction book the bottom line of a review is if the juice was worth the squeeze? Was it worth the reading time spent? In this case I would say yes. I did not find the denouement to be revelatory but it was an uncomfortable story that was written in an engaging way.
Would I sit down and read it again?