The Night Guest
I recently finished The Night Guest, a brilliant debut novel from Aussie author Fiona McFarlane.
Ruth, an elderly woman living alone in a coastal Australian house, wakes convinced that there is a tiger prowling her living room late at night. In the morning, looking as if she had blown in on a southerly wind, a woman named Frida is supposedly sent by the government to assist Ruth as a carer. Ruth is slightly suspicious, but then relieved as Frida helps her organise, clean and cook. They start a friendship, but is it genuine or does Frida have a darker, cruel streak to her, or is it just Ruth’s imagination? As Frida starts to assert more and more control over Ruth’s life, memories of her youth in Fiji overwhelm, an old lover returns and a tiger prowls her living room.
I found this novel to be a great read, it’s got a good pace and I finished it very quickly. There are parts that feel literally spine chilling as you wonder if Ruth is going mad or if she is right in her suspicions. Frida – where did she come from, is she really who she says she is? Is there really a tiger?
The Night Guest is a suspenseful, psychological thriller focusing on the dependence/manipulation of a vulnerable old lady who is slowly losing her grip on her mind. I found it to be an amazing read, very poignant and touching. The novel is, while being third person,focused on Ruth’s point of view, which makes it amazing as you are sucked into her daydream ways, her niggling suspicion of Frida and her deep fear of the tiger. Characters are deep and well rounded, and the language and description is breathtaking.
Overall, The Night Guest is an amazing novel with surprising plot twists.