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The Shining Girls Hardcover – 25 Apr 2013

3.5 out of 5 stars 270 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (25 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007464568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007464562
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 4.3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 146,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘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

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By O E J TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A tale written by South African author Lauren Beukes spanning some six decades and aiming to combine the two genres of crime thriller and science fiction. Having survived an attempt on her life, Kirby sets out to find the man who tried to kill her, a drifter going by the name of Harper Curtis. She becomes an intern at a Chicago newspaper and learns that Harper is not only a serial killer, but, impossibly, he seems to have been doing his killing for sixty years. That is because Harper is able to travel through time.

Just how or why Harper is able to time-travel is never fully explained, but The House has something to do with it. "The House has been waiting for him. It called him here for a purpose. The voice in his head is whispering *home*. And it feels like it, more than the wretched place he grew up in, or the series of flophouses and shacks he's moved between all his adult life." The House isn't exactly a tardis, as it doesn't physically move, but it is nevertheless the means by which the killer traverses the decades between the early 1930s and the 1990s.

The promotional blurb will have you believe that this is 'The jaw-dropping, page-turning, critically-acclaimed book of the year: a serial-killer thriller unlike any other' but my jaw remained firmly closed throughout and turning the pages was often accompanied with a sigh. It's different, to be fair, but not in a way I found particularly attractive.

It contains what for me were a lot of 'talky' chapters involving conversations that were often longer than they needed to be. In most cases, a chapter such as this would end and I would find myself no better off than I had been at the beginning of that chapter.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is 1931 and Harper Curtis is on the run from a mob. By chance he steals a coat, which contains a key. Then, he finds 'the House'. In this excellent novel - which contains threads from several genres, but is actually something quite unique - Harper Curtis finds the house, which the key mysteriously fits, moves through time. Although it stays firmly rooted in Chicago, it transports him from 1929 to 1993, as Harper looks for his Shining Girls. Harper thinks that the house has been waiting for him and he knows that his shining girls are there in time - waiting to die. As the novel progresses, we go backwards and forwards as Harper visits and revisits his chosen girls, always on the periphery of their life and waiting for when the time is right to kill them. However, one girl, Kirby, is attacked and survives.

During this novel we meet many characters and it can be slightly confusing, until you get into the rhythm of the novel. However, you will soon become used to the style as you follow Harper Curtis on his travels. Kirby is a damaged, but strong, young woman. She becomes an intern for a journalist, Dan, who used to work the homicide beat until he became burnt out and moved to sport. With his help, Kirby begins to look for her attacker. However, what chance is there of her discovering a criminal who moves, at will, through time? This really is a roller coaster ride of a novel - intelligent, well written, fast moving and with characters that you will care about intensely by the end of the book. I think this will be the thriller, and one of the books, of the year.
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