This book will take your breath away – not only because of the plot and story, but mainly because of the distinct and unique style of storytelling. Having heard good things about the book, I decided to give it a read, and it certainly did not disappoint. E. Lockhart has woven a beautiful yet heartbreaking tale where things aren’t always what they seem.
Reviewing this book is tricky business, because delving into the details of the story may spoil the beauty of the prose. At the risk of revealing too much, let me say that the plot revolves around the Sinclair family, who go to the privately owned Beechwood Island each summer to unwind. However, the Liars – Johnny, Mirren, Gat and Cadence, the Sinclair cousins – set out to challenge the traditional and austere ways of the family. The story is told from the POV of Cadence, the eldest of the Liars.
As I mentioned, it is the author’s writing style that grips you first. The sentences are short and abrupt. The use of repetitions and verse-like narrative makes it lyrical, like poetry. There are abundant and strong use of metaphors. The entire story is filled with metaphors that need deciphering and reading between the lines. For example, the author uses ‘blood’ as a metaphor for describing pain and anguish. Sample this:
“Migraines left my blood spreading across unfamiliar hotel sheets, dripping on the floors, oozing into carpets, soaking through leftover croissants and Italian lace cookies.”
The author also uses abstract and improper nouns to describe individuals. For example:
“He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.”
The prose is beautiful, yet haunting. Grounded, yet surreal. Casual, yet complicated. The ending hits you hard. More than the unexpectedness of it, what hits you about the ending is the way the ‘truth’ is revealed. The author does not dramatize it, nor does she drum-roll her way towards the grand finish. She keeps it simple. Real. Genuine. And still manages to catch you totally off-guard. It will leave you shocked. Brooding. It will stay with you long after you’ve put the book down. Your mind will go through the entire story again and you will find that the author had ingeniously left so many subtle clues to that you missed.
That is what makes the storytelling truly great. This book is a gem. It is not an easy or fast read. Each word, each sentence needs to be felt, to be understood, and digested. Only then can one truly appreciate the beauty of it. I would definitely recommend this book. Read this, and get mesmerized. 4.5/5.
Guest Post By Abhilash Sanyal
Abhilash Sanyal is a network security engineer with ITC Ltd. Apart from being a certified bookworm, he also loves writing short stories. Mystery/Suspense is his favourite genre. He also likes playing the guitar and is an avid traveler. You can follow his blogs here and here.