There are books you rip through. There are books you savour by the page and run your hand lightly across the cover with wonder each time you set it aside, safely, for the next time. Megan Abbott has conjured up one of the latter.
The experiences of a teenage girl are far removed from those of a man approaching (cough) middle-age. Therefore I initially questioned my ability to engage and empathise with a novel narrated from the viewpoint of such a child, but thankfully I quickly set aside any misconceptions I might have had. From the first page; the first sentence, Abbott had me snared in her web.
'The End of Everything' is a book about sisters, fathers and daughters, family and friendships, truths dripping reluctantly from the owner, but more than that, it's a book about two young girls on the verge of discovering the confusing and heady power of their gender.
Megan Abbott has done something few of us can dream of. She's taken everything we know about noir fiction and re-framed it in a world almost alien to the genre. She has imbued it with a command and grace that compels while meeting our expectation of entering the dark and forbidding places of the human psyche.
Each character is drawn with care and given breath with just a few well-chosen words and the prose has a dream-like, captivating quality you can't fail to fall in love with.
This is quite frankly, wonderful stuff and I am in awe of this writer's skill. A modern classic.