“Island of Lost Girls” by Jennifer McMohan bills itself as a mystery-thriller, and is both of these, to an extent. What I like about it though, is that it hooked me yesterday at a bookshop past 11.pm, and I was up till 4 am reading it.
Not because of the story, because I thought the plot was not so hard to guess at. Ok, that’s not too good for a mystery.
But: what hooked me were the characters, each one very 3-dimensional, almost jumping off the page; the voice of the youthful narrator, which is absolutely spot on.
Then there are rabbits, Alice going down the wrong rabbit-hole, Peter the narrator’s crush, and Peter from Peter Pan, all skillfully woven in and superbly written.
The most fascinating part: the literary story underneath the mystery, the story of messed-up relationships, mangled childhoods, the disillusionments of adult life, and the ending that leaves you feeling satisfied despite giving a sort of cold comfort.
The narrator’s lifelong obsession comes to nothing, her current infatuation follows a rather ironic trajectory. Old secrets come undone, yet remain.
I would love to read a literary novel by this talented author, who hooked me , and had me flopping and writhing at the line, unable to sleep till dawn. Good stuff.
Last night’s feverish reading took me back to those times when marathon reading was an almost daily affair. It is so exciting to think those delirious times might be back again.