Karl, Eleanor, and their daughter, Irina, arrive from New York City in the wake of Karl’s infidelity to start anew. Karl tries to stabilize his flailing art career. Eleanor, a successful commercial novelist, eagerly pivots in a new creative direction. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Irina becomes obsessed with the brutal murders that occurred in the house years earlier. And, secretly, so does her mother. As the ensemble cast grows to include Louis, a hapless salesman in a carpet warehouse who is haunted by his past, and Sam, a young woman newly reunited with her jailbird brother, the seemingly unrelated crime that opened the story becomes ominously relevant.
Hovering over all this activity looms a gradually awakening narrative consciousness that watches these characters lie to themselves and each other, unleashing forces that none of them could have anticipated and that put them in mortal danger. Broken River is a cinematic, darkly comic, and sui generis psychological thriller that could only have been written by J. Robert Lennon.
Having never read anything by J. Robert Lennon before, the thought of a new author and the blurb got the better of my curiosity and I dived in.
The book starts with a couple and their daughter fleeing their home. Why is never fully explained. They are subsequently murdered and their daughter is found later by a neighbour and vanishes from the tale’
The murder is never solved and the locals believe the house cursed.
After years of desolation the house is inhabited again by Karl, Eleanor and their daughter Irina. Leaving New York presumably for a new start
And this is where the real story begins. The story of the supposed curse: but also the story of their lives and others whom the trajectory of their lives bring them into contact with.
It is a story of selfishness and cruelty
Karl is a selfish and immature person. Totally unsuited to be a father and unable to give up his philandering ways.
Elanor also seems trapped in a marriage of convenience and not of love. Though she seems to be trying to make it work.
And Irina the daughter, tired of being the brunt of her parents arguments and the weapon they use against each other: retreats into her own world of the imagination and internet.
There is also an eerie presence known as the Observer.Who or what it is is for each reader to make up their own mind.
Thank to Serpents Tail and Lovereading for the ARC.