Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Edward Monkford is a minimalist architect and is very picky about the people who occupy his homes.  The book itself is pretty minimalist in that there are basically just three other characters.  Simon and his girlfriend Emma move into One Folgate Place after Emma has been robbed at gunpoint.  In fact, the safety of the home with all kinds of electronic controls is one of its most appealing factors.  Not so appealing is how clutter-free Monkford expects the occupants to live.   Simon and Emma’s story alternates with that of Jane, who occupies the same house at a later time and who also has survived a traumatic event—a stillborn child.  The storyline is really pretty straightforward, except that Emma and Jane both become Edward’s lover and bear a striking resemblance to his deceased wife.  Consequently, I found that I had to do a certain amount of mental resetting each time the narrator changed, although we find that the two characters have less and less in common as the story progresses.  Monkford is too obvious as a sinister presence throughout the novel, but Jane and Emma are full of surprises.  I also enjoyed the nifty way in which the author gives us back-to-back chapters in which the two women are having very similar experiences, particularly with Monkford.  Jane has the benefit of knowing that Emma preceded her in the house and as Monkford’s lover, but she doesn’t appear to be any more savvy.  If you don’t like the characters, keep reading, because new revelations keep surfacing and changing your perception of them.  This is not the first novel in which a character has probed into the life of the previous occupant of her home, but it may be one of the more engaging ones.

No comments: