- Interesting story structure
- Great writing that creates suspense
- Many clues that foreshadow events
- Structure of story can be a little confusing at first on a casual read
- Can feel a little slow at the start because of the philosophical discussion
I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
There’s a lot of literary elements to like about Iain Reid’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things. The punctuation of the story with the dialogue between two strangers provides readers with clues to the plot, a plot and a conclusion that would otherwise be a little confusing.
The book is categorized as a horror book, but I don’t think that’s quite right. The long, philosophical conversation that serves as an introduction has anything but a feel of horror. In fact, there was a paradoxical sense of both melancholy and almost clinical disinterest at the beginning. At the story’s conclusion, the conversation during the drive to Jake’s parents made a lot more sense.
The structure of the story is interesting for this book. The story is punctuated with a conversation between two people. I get the sense that they were coworkers or teachers at the school. While short, these conversations provide a lot of clues as to the events in the story, with the last conversation providing some much-needed context for the entire book.
What I especially appreciated in I’m Thinking of Ending Things were the clues that hinted at something being amiss in the story. Jake’s girlfriend, who remains nameless, has eerie experiences at the farm, and Reid’s writing ability really shines during these scenes. The writing creates a mood and atmosphere of trepidation and tension. And there never really seems to be a release until the conclusion of the story. Luckily, the book is short enough that readers aren’t really left shouldering these emotions for too long.
The clues that Reid writes into the story are overt enough to cause readers to question the strangeness. The weird conversation during the drive, the various observations at the farm, the visit to Dairy Queen with the giggling girls, and other small details all converge to reveal an important aspect of the story. And if these details weren’t enough, the conversation between the two strangers that punctuate the story tells readers what’s going on.
I enjoyed this book for reasons that are likely different from other readers. I appreciated the tight story structure and a title that is significant in what it suggests and what the story delivers. I enjoyed the flow created by the writing style, and I was amused with the use of foreshadowing in less obvious ways.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid is an exquisitely well-written story that manages to create and sustain feelings of unease and suspense throughout the entire book. Furthermore, Reid takes readers on a emotional journey wherein the emotions suggested at the beginning of the book are slowly transmuted as the journey progresses. Readers who enjoy a more subtle psychological thriller will enjoy this book.