David is a university professor. He is stunned when one of his first year students comes to his office professing to be his daughter. When DNA results prove that she is, he wants her to be part of his family, along with his son and daughter. But his wife Caroline, while welcoming Zoe on the surface, has her own doubts about Zoe's motives. And being privy to both David's and Caroline's take on the situation, the reader does as well.
I did not like David at all. Even though he starts out trying to do the right thing, I found him somewhat entitled and smug. Without giving anything away, as the book progresses, his thoughts and actions became increasingly disturbing to me. Caroline has made mistakes in the past and is far from perfect, but she is the character I was on side with the most. Zoe is a manipulator, beguiling David and toying with his wife, children and friends. I wondered what her end game was.
Kudos to Perry and Gillece for creating such strong reactions in this reader. Their depiction of this couple's interactions is really well done. And I liked the back and forth of the chapters, seeing the same events through different eyes. As the cracks in their foundation widen with the addition of Zoe, the reader knows that things are not going to go well. And it was here that I grew saddened (and a little frustrated) with the inability of this couple to actually be honest with and listen to each other and to actually see what is going on in their lives.
Those looking for a fast paced thriller won't find it in Girl Unknown. Instead it is a slow burn, with the tension and the inevitable outcome building with every chapter. But, I was caught unawares by the final turn the ending took. An unsettling, literary family drama. Read an excerpt of Girl Unknown.
|Cr: Edmund Ross|
Paul Perry is the author of a number of critically acclaimed books. A recipient of the Hennessy Award for New Irish Writing, he teaches creative writing at University College, Dublin.
Karen Gillece is the author of several critically acclaimed novels. In 2009 she won the European Union Prize for Literature (Ireland). Connect with them on Facebook.
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