Brothers Jonathan and Roger Maguire each have an obsession. For Jonathan, it is his beautiful and talented girlfriend Harriet. For Roger, it is the elaborate universe he has constructed in a shed in their parents’ garden, populated by millions of tiny insects.But Roger lives in an impenetrable world of his own and, after the mysterious death of their parents, Jonathan is forced to give up his studies to take care of him. This obligation forces Jonathan to live apart from Harriet – further fuelling his already jealous nature.Their lives are abruptly shattered by a sudden and violent death, and Jonathan is drawn into a cat-and-mouse game with the police. Does Roger know more than he is letting on? A cleverly plotted mystery with a shock ending, The Insect Farm – Stuart Prebble’s awaited new novel – will linger long in the mind of its readers.
VERDICT – 4/5 stars – utterly compelling !
This was a book read as part of the 2016 North Wales Library reading challenge and was February’s book and I have to say I loved it. Utterly compelling. Written in the first person narrative in a strange detached tone, it is almost a monotone look back at the brother’s life and the many twists and turns it takes.
Prebble’s writing style itself in this book is strange in the way it does not give much depth to the characters and, for me at least, that fits for this book as it is exactly that – a old mans objective look at his past as he comes towards some decisions he needs to take. People change in your mind as you look back through time – the villains in your life take on more inexcusable behavior and those we look back on with love, somehow lose some of their faults and for me this style portrays that sepia film we overlay on our memories as we look back on our lives.
Although perhaps overly long when you think back on what actually happened action-wise in the book, it did not feel that way as I was reading it, as the fluid writing style and dramatic start to the book before it moves back in time keeps me compelled and turn it page after page. To the point where it only took me a few days to get through while working full time and looking after a toddler!!
Would definitely recommend if you like crime / thriller but would like to read something a little different to the usual ‘whodunnit’ formula.