La Crimson Femme
Review: Quiet in Her Bones
★★★★ ½ @NaliniSingh #QuietinHerBones #NetGalley #bookreview
Riveting and disturbing, Quiet in Her Bones focuses on the skeletons in people's closets. In a rich neighborhood where money is not flaunted, each family has a dirty secret they want to hide.
This tragic tale is a turbulent trip ... an acid trip. For those who liked the movie, Memento, this story is for you. Aarav is the first and only son of his Indian parents. Being a first child who is also a son carries great weight and expectations. It does not matter that they live in New Zealand, the cultural norms and India society expectations are still held up. For Aarav, it matters not because he does not care. He hates his father with a passion and will go his own way to spite his father.
I have been reading Ms. Singh's books since her Psy-Changeling books, about a decade and a half. Her writing style has grown and matured into something dark and more thought provoking. Her stories have always been good but now, they are meatier with these new novels that are standalones. I am impressed. In this book, Ms. Singh drags us through confusing confrontations, hopeful interactions and stressful delusions. What is reality and what is a hallucination?
This all centers around Aarav's mother, Nina disappearing a decade ago. When her car is finally found with her decomposed body in it, questions arise that unearth more than just the secret of who killed her. What I like about the writing voice in this story is that there is no omniscient perspective. We never learn what happened and who caused the situation until the end. During this entire story, Aarav is trying hard to piece together not only his memory, but what happened to his mother. I did guess several of the secrets that neighbors were trying to keep buried. Some are sad and others are heinous. The more questions Aarav asks and answers uncovers, the less picture perfect each family becomes in this neighborhood. The multiple subplots are well woven together through one common denominator - Nina. She is larger than life and unapologetic. She goes to extremes to defend her friends and always fought back against those she felt wronged her.
Nina is an interesting character because we only see her through the memories of each person. She is something different to each of them and her impact whilst alive and dead is huge. She is one of those people who operates on her own gravitational pull. People are attracted to her whether they want it or not. And when she decides to withhold her presence, it feels as if the sun never rises again. It is ironic Nina loved Aarav above everyone else yet she exhibited some very ugly behaviours under the influence which has long term effects on him.
Aarav is a man who has experienced great loss and trauma. Whilst the conclusion came fast and Aarav received the vengeance he wanted, the ending is still melancholic and ends in a sad note. I loved it. This dark thriller is recommended to readers who enjoy suspense, angst and bittersweet endings.
*provided by NetGalley