The Guest List : Book Review
"Life is messy. We all know this. Terrible things happen, I learned that while I was still a child. But no matter what happens, life is only a series of days. You can't control more than a single day. But you can control one of them. Twenty-four hours can be curated."
Title : The Guest List
Author : Lucy Foley
Genre : Fiction - Mystery,Thriller
Pages : 313
Year of publication : 2020
Publisher : William Morrow – HarperCollins
"The Guest List" is the second thriller of Lucy Foley eventhough she has written three historical novels before "The Hunting Party". This one is a beautiful whodunnit- a typical locked room mystery-which keeps you guessing till the very end!
On Cormorant Island,off the Coast of Ireland,a grand wedding is about to take place made famous in itself by the couple themselves-the gorgeous Jules Keegan,a self-made entrepreneur in the digital world and the sporty Will Slater,a TV star with a huge fan following.The picturesque location only adds to the magnanimity of the wedding as the invited guests get blown away by the splendor.The steep clifftops,the roaring sea with the unpredictable weather,the damp bogs and perfidious terrains though mersmerising at first soon lends out eerie vibes.And,things are not as transparent as they seem to be.The author follows a narrative pattern where the story is carried forward through the perspectives and eyes of each main character. Soon enough,we learn that the Best Man,the Master of Ceremonies,the Bridesmaid,the ushers all have their own insecurities,fears,secrets and motives. As the wedding day progresses,the plot deepens until it culminates at the discovery of a corpse by one of the waitresses.Each one of the guests is a suspect...
As a big fan of thrillers and whodunnits,I knew I would straightaway like this one after reading the blurb.Though it is a slow-paced thriller,this one is definitely one of the best in its genre.The author has meticulously laid down the plot and venue and skillfully builds it up.Rather than going for a simple narration,the author has adopted a style wherein the story unfolds through the mind and eyes of the chief guests who are on the island from the day before the wedding.The plot is carried forward through two timelines,separated by a day which converges eventually.
The whole setup gave me the vibes of a classical Agatha Christie novel,with an uncanny resemblance to "And then there were None". Foley has worked her way deftly, giving insight into the pasts of the main characters which throws light on many important aspects which are learned along the way.The reader for sure gets amazed at the way the many pieces of the jigzaw puzzles realign themselves towards the culmination.One might expect the narration to be jumbled and confusing,being across the timelines but in reality it is not the case as one would realize.
The only aspect I felt slightly off was the pace at which the story unfolds. Not that it interferes with the reading experience,but it might dissuade some in the initial half.Also,I felt that the closing scenes could have been elaborated further.
Lucy Foley is a British Novelist who writes contemporary historical fiction and crime thrillers,having six books to her credit.She started out as a fiction editor for a publishing house before penning down her first book,'The Book of Lost and Found' in 2015.Her works have been translated into nineteen languages so far.Her latest work is 'The Paris Apartment ' released earlier this year. 'The Guest List' won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Mystery/Thriller in the year of publication.
In a nutshell...
Foley creates a near perfect thriller set in the backdrop of a grand wedding function in a creepy island,evolving through an array of riveting narrations bristling with personal turmoils and secrets which are sure to keep the reader glued to it till its over.However the slow narration might be a turn off if you are not a habitual reader.
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[This Book Review was first published online in the October edition of "Coffee & Conversations".
You can find it by visiting this link : https://coffeeandconversations.in/reading-nook/the-guest-list-by-lucy-foley/ ]