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The Shining Girls Paperback – 29 Aug 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (29 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007464584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007464586
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lauren Beukes is a novelist, TV scriptwriter, documentary maker, comics
writer and occasional journalist.

She won the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award for her novel Zoo City, set in a
fantastical Johannesburg where guilt manifests as spirit animal familiars. Her
previous works include Moxyland, a dystopian cyberpunk thriller set in Cape
Town under corporate apartheid.

She helped create South Africa's first half-hour animated TV show, URBO: The
Adventures of Pax Afrika, and has written kids animated shows for Disney
UK and Millimages in France.

Follow her on Twitter: @laurenbeukes

Photo © Casey Crafford

Product Description

Review

‘A powerful thriller – imaginative, disturbing, tense, compelling reading’ The Times

‘I’m all over it’ Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl

‘Brilliant. A book about the duel of two fabulously realized characters. A triumph’ Independent

‘Clever story, smart prose’ Stephen King

‘Extremely creepy’ Mail on Sunday (‘Must Reads’)

‘Very smart, wholly original, completely kick-ass’ William Gibson

‘Engrossing as it is original, as rewarding as it is challenging. Superb – a beautifully layered work of fiction. Take the time to read this, it’s mesmerizing’ Sun

‘Utterly original, beautifully written. This is something special’ Tana French, author of In The Woods

‘Brilliant. Forget GONE GIRL, now it’s all about THE SHINING GIRLS’ Observer

‘Disturbing, smart and beautifully written’ Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus

‘This year’s must-read’ Stylist

‘A new kind of thriller. A dark, relentless, time-twisting, page-turning murder story. It shines’ Matt Haig, author of The Humans

About the Author

Lauren Beukes is a novelist, TV scriptwriter, documentary maker, comics writer and occasional journalist.

She won the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award for her novel Zoo City, set in a fantastical Johannesburg where guilt manifests as spirit animal familiars. Her previous works include Moxyland, a dystopian cyberpunk thriller set in Cape Town under corporate apartheid.

She helped create South Africa’s first half-hour animated TV show, URBO: The Adventures of Pax Afrika, and has written kids animated shows for Disney UK and Millimages in France.


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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lindia on 21 Sept. 2013
Format: Hardcover
I liked the idea of this book and it had some good reviews. However, I was really disappointed. I've given it 2 stars because I at least finished it - but it was hard work. Quite confusing with all the time changes, which wasn't explained very well - how, why? Many characters, none of which I cared about. Then, after toiling through it, a really rubbish ending. I turned the page thinking I was in the middle of a paragraph, but no it had ended. Perhaps the author had got as fed up as I was.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Plucked Highbrow on 24 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
Kirby was attacked by a man and, despite horrific injuries, managed to survive. Now she is a student intern on a Chicago paper and determined to find out who attacked her. Harper is a man who was down and out but suddenly stumbles upon the key to a house. The house has secrets of its own...

I'd put off reading this book as sic-fi is my least favourite genre of reading matter and I thought this book would be too much for me. In spite of many of the reviews I decided to give this book a go and, once started, could barely put it down. For all the reasons I loathed 'The Time-travellers Wife', I love 'The Shining Girls'. This is exciting and clever but with good characters and a knowledge of Americana and Chicago that belies the nationality of the author.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a general rule, I hate crime novels but love stories that make clever use of time travel, so I was in two minds over whether to read this book. The comparisons to Gone Girl, which I read last year and loved, finally persuaded me to give it a try.

Let me start by saying that I don't agree with that comparison at all. They are two books that involve a crime and have an unconventional narrative structure, but that's literally the only things they have in common. The things I loved about Gone Girl were the brilliantly quotable prose, the clever twist, and the unreliable narration. None of that is present here - it's a much more workmanlike novel.

That's not to say it isn't an enjoyable read. It was an pacey thriller that made me want to rush to the end and it had a well-executed sense of creepiness. My favourite parts actually had little to do with either crime or time travel. I loved the vignettes about the different girls the villain killed. The idea was that he only killed girls who had a spark about them - some combination of having a huge ambition and/or wanting to change the world. I was fascinated by their stories - the transgender fifties showgirl, the woman doing a man's job during WW2, the seventies procurer of illegal abortions. It's just a shame they all died so quickly! I actually thought the heroine was one of the weaker characters, and it was hard to see what her "shine" was meant to be. I'd rather have had one of the women listed above be the survivor who is hunting him down.

Weirdly, I enjoyed it more while I was reading it than afterwards. Once I'd put it down, I had time to think about the weaknesses.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By gbbrea on 17 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading The Shining Girls which I have to admit I found very disappointing. First up I think the book cover needs to mention that the serial killer is travelling in time, which to some people, myself included, would put this in another category than the murder/thriller/hunt down/capture story I thought I was about to read. It took me time to work out t hat the serial killer was travelling in time and no explanation is really given as to why him or how or why the 1930s versus the late 80s/early 90s. Having said that, a third of the way into the book,I thought the idea was different and therefore hoped the story would be about the main character figuring out what was happening vis time travelling killer, understand the pattern/route he was taking (because it was gibberish to me) and intercept him therefore fitting together all the pieces of this complex jigsaw puzzle. But no, it did not turn out like that and as I was nearing the end of the book I realised there was not enough pages left to develop this theme. Pretty rubbish ending to a story that had more holes in it than swiss cheese.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Penny Waugh on 29 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I like books about time travel and I'm not averse to serial killers, though they do get a bit risible or yawn-provoking on occasion, so I was interested in this hybrid.
Sadly, it lost me almost from page one. The time travel element is highly confusing, the characters sketchy at best; Harper, though highly unpleasant, never came across to me as a real person and Kirby is the kind of heroine who mainly succeeds in putting everyone else's backs up. The other characters were unappealing and unconvincing.
The House, out of which Harper operates, is not convincing either.
The story does come a bit more alive in the final chapters but not enough to make me really care and all told this was a disappointment after all the hype.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. F. Stevens HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 1 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Amazon blurb and critics comments are reasonably to the point, and I'll carefully avoid repeating them or spoiling the plot, because with this book there is quite a good one. As with her earlier novels the writing is sometimes excellent, and some of the principal characters are well crafted, and occasionally the pictures on the insides of ones eyelids are in full 3D colour. She obviously tried to hold true to her earlier work and again blended elements of the Detective and Fantasy genres in an original manner, but here also added a spicy touch of the throbbing Thriller.

However, I was less than impressed by her realisation of the two "What If...?" impossibilities which form the core of the story, and felt that with a little more care she could have made them seem more plausible, or even credible. I was also put off by the misogynistic and gratuitous gore in places, it seemed almost as if the publisher/editor had insisted on a bit more violence to add spice to the book, and here I think it misfires. I almost gave up on reading the book because of it.

Fortunately after a pause of almost a month I picked it up again today, and finished it in just a few hours. So, yes, it can grab your attention, and it is worth reading. But in my opinion, it could have been a lot better.

I very much preferred her earlier Zoo City, which showed how well she can write.
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