This book took my breath away. While not quite as good as Ng’s recent novel, Little Fires Everywhere, I took delight in breezing through this novel of family drama, deception, and assumptions. As Jeff O’Neil stated on The Book Riot Podcast about Ng’s work, this seems to fall into a suburban noir category. I love that phrase, suburban noir, as it has been a niche genre that’s been taking off lately, compelling and mysterious books that find their niche in everyday suburban life.
Lydia is dead from the beginning of this book, as readers know but characters do not. Ng lets us all have more information than any of the characters themselves have, and it felt uncomfortable at times watching the trainwreck unfold that you knew was coming all along while they plod along unawares. Archetypes and group dynamics really shine through her writing, and Ng does an excellent job of expressing the group dynamics through the eyes of each character. I believe this is why I found this book compelling, in that each person truly feels they fill certain roles, but how they are perceived by the rest of the group may be different than they thought.
This was a one-sitting read for me, as Ng’s writing flows so beautifully that I hard a hard time putting the book down. Definitely worth picking up, as it should be a breeze to get through.