Customer Review

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent tale of two sisters with wonderful twists!, 1 Jan 2010
This review is from: The Behaviour Of Moths (Hardcover)
"The Behaviour of Moths" has airs of "Grey Gardens", "Sunset Boulevard", "Great Expectations" and various other stories of batty old recluses living in rotting mansions, but it is a very original tale. The narrator, Virginia (Ginny) is a very unreliable one - she sees the world differently to everyone else and doesn't always see the obvious. Although she claims to be an expert on moths, she's clearly not because she makes many mistakes in the science she mentions (I prefer to think of these mistakes as mistakes on Ginny's part, not mistakes on the author's part). Ginny's very safe, secure world, rattling around in her family home, is rocked by the return of her younger sister (Vivian) after almost 50 years.

The narrative flashes back and forth between the present day and the 1950s as we learn the history of the family and how Ginny came to live alone. As homet-truths start to be revealed by Vivian, Ginny has to face facts that her version of events isn't the same as everyone elses.

The book is wonderfully written in a lovely, evocative style and the characterisation of Ginny (who is about 70) is almost childlike, but then she has never really grown up and does live in the past, which suits her perfectly. Ginny is obsessive with respect to time and order and routine and her characterisations are very well researched. She describes her scientific work in minute details but this is full of errors (chemicals that don't exist, mechanisms of poison action that are wrong), probably due to Ginny's delusions of being an expert when she's really not one.

I do hope for a sequal - or prequal - or at least more books from Poppy Adams. This one was wonderful.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Aug 2010 11:20:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Aug 2010 11:21:13 BDT
Lucy Griffin says:
I was very interested in your review. Can you explain what the errors actually were?

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Sep 2010 20:23:34 BDT
Towards the end Ginny walks through her disused laboratory and recites names of chemicals etc - some don't exist - others are named incorrectly. The physiology of a particular type of poison's effects is also totally incorrect.
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