Everybody has their secrets.
Who, for instance, is the hooded figure hiding in the bushes outside a young man’s house? Why does the same stranger keep appearing in the background of a family’s holiday photographs? What makes a woman stand mesmerized by two children in a school playground, children she’s never met but whose names she knows well? All will be revealed . . . but at a cost. As Sophie Hannah uncovers the dark obsessions and strange longings behind the most ordinary relationships, life will never seem quite the same again.
|Publisher:||Sort of Books|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|
About the Author
SOPHIE HANNAH is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous psychological thrillers, which have been published in 51 countries and adapted for television, as well as The Monogram Murders, the first Hercule Poirot novel authorized by the estate of Agatha Christie, and the follow up The Closed Casket. Sophie is also the author of a self-help book, How to Hold a Grudge, and hosts the podcast of the same name. She lives in Cambridge, UK.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a collection of ten short (albeit quite long) stories. I haven't read them all yet, so this review is for the first four stories. In "The Octopus Nest", Claire and her husband discover a mysterious woman in all their holiday photos taken over the last ten years. But not all is as it seems. The ending will shock you. In "Friendly Amid the Haters", our narrator deals with incompetence at every turn - until she reaches her breaking point. Just how far can things go over a stained carpet? In "We All Say What We Want", Tom finds it impossible to say what he actually feels, but what would happen if he did? Did you ever wonder what "cc" and "bcc" on emails stand for? You'll find out in this story! In "The Fantastic Book of Everybody's Secrets", Tamsin is compiling and editing a book of secrets, but what is her motivation? Not all narrators can be trusted to provided an unbiased account of their actions. This last story appropriately provides the title for the collection, as all the stories have a bookish theme and feature people who have secrets of their own. The writing is excellent, the pace is brisk, suspense is maintained throughout, and the author makes some clever observations of human behavior. With their tongue-in-cheek humor and witty, sarcastic banter, these stories had me laughing out loud at some points, had me cringing at others, and left me shocked at their conclusion. I look forward to reading the rest of this collection. I received this book in return for an honest review. Full blog post: https://booksdirectonline.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-fantastic-book-of-everybodys-secrets-by-sophie-hannah.html
3.5 stars I have not previously read anything by Sophie Hannah, but somehow I had the impression that she writes crime novels, so I was interested to see how she would do in her debut collection of short fiction, The Fantastic Book of Everybody's Secrets. After finishing the book, I looked at Hannah's author page on Goodreads and discovered that, in 2004, her story "Octopus Nest" took first prize in the Daphne du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition, and that story, which serves as the lead in this collection, is indeed stellar. Hannah keeps the terror at a fever pitch from the very first sentence before neatly redirecting it at the very end. Unfortunately, while the trip with Hannah starts and ends with a bang (the final story, "The Most Enlightened Person I've Ever Met," also garnered 5 stars), the middle is quite bumpy. The order of the stories appears unusually deliberate because the only other 5-star entry, "The Nursery Bear," is smack in the middle at #6, with stories 2 through 5 and 7 through 9 being much weaker. There are some other stories deserving of appreciation: "Twelve Noon," which traps us in the skewed logic of an elderly woman trying to understand a road sign on her first drive in 10 years, and "You Are a Gongedip" (don't ask), whose pretentious narrator leaps fully formed from the page with the first sentence, both received 4 stars. Their pleasures, however, were outweighed by the 1-star "The Tub," involving a revolting sexual encounter after a breakup over (of all things) bubble bath, and the 2-star "We All Say What We Want" and "Herod's Valentines." Even the titular "The Fantastic Book of Everybody's Secrets," which is based on the same social experiment as the PostSecret books, takes an inherently interesting premise and goes nowhere with it. Interestingly, with the exception of "The Nursery Bear" at 28 pages, the best stories were also the shortest, ranging from 5 to 13 pages, while the worst ranged from 24 to 53 pages. What this tells me is that Hannah may write good stories under 20 pages and novels hundreds of pages long, but she has a "dead zone" when it comes to novellas. Readers should make their selections accordingly. This review was based on a free ARC provided by the publisher.