9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Second Person - always present,
This review is from: The Book of You (Hardcover)
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Clarissa, a woman in her late thirties on the rebound from a relationship in which she and her partner failed to conceive the child they wanted, had a one-night stand a few months earlier with a colleague that ended in circumstances she cannot fully remember - and now he is stalking her relentlessly. Being summoned for jury duty is the only way she can escape his non-stop attention, but it soon emerges that the woman and key witness at the centre of a rape trial has been through some experiences that prompt Clarissa to look at her recent life in a different light.
From the very first paragraph, this is an unusual story for the way that it has been written. We're all familiar with third-person past tense (the most common in fiction), third person present, first-person past and first-person present - all have been tried with various degrees of success. But "The Book of You" for the larger part adopts second-person present tense, which I initially found irritating but soon came to appreciate that it is probably the best option for a tale of obsession, control and manipulation such as this is. Sometimes the writing changes to conventional third-person past tense and it's really quite starkly different in mood and atmosphere when the narrative reverts back to second-person present. It does actually help the reader to understand what it feels like to be stalked, the emotional claustrophobia the sufferer goes through and the desperation felt in seeking a way out, away from the stalker.
Having read "Gone Girl" and "Before I Go to Sleep", with which this new book is compared on its inside front cover, I have to admit (for once) that it's a fair comparison and if anything it's a better read than either of those. Different and page-turning stuff.