The Shining Girls

The Shining Girls - Lauren Beukes

While reading this book, I began to imagine a conversation that goes something like this:


A whole bunch of authors: “We like to try to confuse readers by making our stories bounce back and forth between three or four different time periods.”


Lauren Beukes: *indelicate snort* “Bitches, that’s nothing. Hold my beer.”


Which isn’t to say that I think Beukes drinks beer and calls other authors bitches, but you never know. I hear some of these literary conventions are pretty wild.


I don’t really know how to feel about this one. I enjoyed it, but like Moxyland, it feels like an amalgam of other books. It’s sort of like Slade House meets Dark Places and Sharp Objects. A supernatural catalyst in the form of a house. Lots of gruesome murders and a sole survivor hunting for the killer. Broken people and awkward, awkward romance. It all works together surprisingly well, but the shifts through time are quite disorienting at first, and the little vignettes of the victims’ life stories almost make the book feel like a short story collection.


Also, third person present tense. I don’t like it, but in my past experience with Beukes’s books I thought she wrote it so well I hardly noticed it was my least favorite narrative style. I noticed this time, and boy was it annoying. Overall, the book was just okay.


I think after three of her books, I can safely conclude that I love Beukes’s story concepts more than I love her actual stories, and I need to either manage my expectations or stop reading her stuff.


I read this for the Halloween Bingo 2018 Modern Masters of Horror square.