Unreliable Narrators

Unreliable Narrators in Fiction

If you’re looking for more fast-paced suspense novels that are readalikes for The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, then check out these books:

Barton, Fiona. The Widow
Carter, Ally. All Fall Down
Chapman, Emma. How to Be a Good Wife
Crawford, Susan. The Pocket Wife
Donoghue, Emma. Room
Ellison, J. T. No One Knows
Hannah, Sophie. A Game for All the Family
Harrison, A.S.A. The Silent Wife
Healey, Emma. Elizabeth is Missing
Hogan, Phil. A Pleasure and a Calling
Kubica, Mary. Good Girl
Lapena, Shari. The Couple Next Door
LaPlante, Alice. Turn of Mind
Larbalestier, Justine. Liar
Little, Elizabeth. Dear Daughter
Lockhart, E. We Were Liars
Lutz, Lisa. The Passenger
Mackintosh, Clare. I Let You Go
Marwood, Alex. Wicked Girls
Moriarty, Liane. Big Little Lies
Morrow, Bradford. The Forgers
Oliva, Alexandra. The Last One
Paris, B.A. Behind Closed Doors
Rindell, Suzanne. The Other Typist
Walker, Wendy. All is Not Forgotten
Ware, Ruth. The Woman in Cabin 10
Waters, M. D. Archetype
Watson. S. J. Before I Go to Sleep

Enjoy!

Brenda


Between Shades of Gray

ruta jacket

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray is a harrowing story about a young girl, her family and her neighbors being forced from their home in Lithuania and imprisoned in a brutal Siberian encampment under Stalin’s rule. As one would expect, this wartime story is horribly sad and disturbing. However, there are moments in the imprisoned people’s lives where they remind one another that they are indeed compassionate human beings who are capable of empowering themselves and one another by sharing happy and peaceful memories. These moments better enable them to survive–spiritually and physically. On one occasion the “prisoners” free themselves from several months of endless burden and physical wear with the use of what can be called, collective memory. They secretly gather on Christmas Eve and recreate a scene that resembles a traditional Lithuanian Christmas dinner celebration—Kucios. During this commemoration they have only the small stolen rations of stale food from the farming camp that they are temporarily enslaved at. Yet, with these very limited means the group manages to capture the spirit of the holiday celebration, perhaps in a more powerful manner than any Christmas past.

Lina, the protagonist of the story, is a gifted artist and seizes every opportunity to capture, on bark or stolen paper, such moments of beauty. She also uses her artistic abilities to record the destruction and obscenities she has witnessed and experienced. Lina draws with an understanding that her depictions are recorded evidence as well as an act of defiance and freedom of expression. Moreover, she holds onto the hope that her drawings are a conduit through which her separated family can communicate and reunite. The characters in this story, and their small amount of personal belongings, are up-heaved and moved from place to place further away from their homeland and from the peaceful lives they once knew. Lina’s story, and her art, balances a wanting of what once was, with a need to move forward.

Jeanne

Readalikes:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (especially for those moments of beauty amidst despair)

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (which also emphasizes the survival of people’s traditions and culture)

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (another story that presents complex individuals who are capable of doing good and of creating harm)

 


Dead Level

Dead Level by Sarah Graves

The latest book in the Home Repair is Homicide mystery series, this is more suspense than mystery. Dewey Hooper, an escaped murderer, heads toward Eastport, Maine, with revenge in mind. City guy Harold takes a rare vacation, planning to hike in the Maine woods. Jacobia (Jake) and Ellie head out of Eastport to a remote cottage, where Jake plans to spend the week finishing a deck. The reader knows they are all likely to meet up, with possibly dire results. Jake’s son Sam is in Eastport, trying to keep a boat from sinking, hindered rather than helped by its new owner. He thinks about going to check on his mother, but is delayed. Jake’s stepmother, Bella, is uneasy and also wants to go check on Jake. It turns out that they’ve all seen the ghost of Sam’s father on the anniversary of his death, but none of them believe it. The only spooky part of the book is the ghost, but there is the feeling of listening to a ghost story around a fire, waiting for something to jump out of the dark. It turns out that Ellie and Jake are tough and resourceful, and probably up to the challenge of facing Dewey, while Harold and Sam face their own problems, as does Bella. Usually I like to start a series at the beginning, but it’s not necessary with this series. An exciting, suspenseful, satisfying read. For more about the series and Eastport, visit the author’s website.

Brenda