Like an earlier reviewer (Sarah Wray), I thought this novel was `pretty good': definitely above average, I'd give it 3.5 stars if that were a possible option. The funny thing is, though, it's right up my street with its unreliable narrator, atmospheric environment, slow burn and gothic elements. I therefore expected to be enthralled, but I was simply interested.
Somehow it felt a little contrived; a little too claustrophobic. I longed for use of the third person to give more insight and bring in more characters, to deliver a touch more `plot', I suppose.
I realise that this would have altered the story, shedding too much light on what was going on. The challenge was to live in the narrator's perspective but to try to work out, from clues, what was `fact'; what was her assumption; what, if anything, was actually objective. There's nothing wrong with that, I enjoy that sort of challenge, but this didn't hold my attention as strongly as Sarah Waters' fantastic new novel `The Little Stranger', which is not dissimilar in its style and tone. Maybe I've just read too many first person narrator novels all in a bunch and am feeling slightly jaded.
I suspect I'm being too critical: this is still an enjoyable and intelligent read and the characterisation is intriguing. I liked the fact that the two key characters (the narrator and her sister) are elderly women, both quirky and individual. Older women don't often get to hog a story and neither do insects. Here they combine to share the limelight!
Do read it and see what you think.