Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Sharp Objects is the first of Mrs. Flynn’s novels I read. It’s also probably her best, in my opinion. Sharp Objects tells the tale of a Chicago reporter to returns to her Midwestern small-town girlhood home to write a story on the death of two young girls. Returning home, she quickly gets caught up in the small-town madness infecting the town.
Flynn uses language effectively, often choosing just the right word to convey her sordid meaning and misanthropic portrait of… everyone. (She is particularly hard on women; the attention-seeking collection of weak-willed evil creatures, and a few of the scenes which fill this novel make the writer come across as a bit of a misogynist. Were she male, I would have lumped her in with the likes of Al Goldstein.) The world she presents is unsettling, dimly reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk in its grimy post-industrial, post-modern dysfunction.
The mystery itself is compelling, but unfortunately, the plot quite runs away from the novel and ends up being nearly ridiculous at points. It turns out, from my perspective, this is pretty much a common thread throughout all three of her novels; the actually events that occur end up being so ridiculously unbelievable and out of character that the novel falls apart.
Still, I found Sharp Objects an interesting enough first novel that I was eager to read her followup, Dark Places.