Saturday, October 14, 2017

Book Review: 'The Farm' by Tom Rob Smith

Twenty-nine year old Daniel lives in London with his lover, Mark, and has little contact with his mother and father. Daniel's parents, Tilde and Chris, are retired and live in a remote farm in rural Sweden. One August evening, Daniel is stunned when Chris calls to inform him that Tilde has become delusional. Subsequently, Daniel's mother travels to London to persuade her son that she is the victim of a malevolent conspiracy that "stretches across the entire region and touches many lives, including local authorities and institutions, politicians and police officers." She has a satchel filled with evidence that she insists will support her allegations.

Tom Rob Smith's "The Farm" is an atmospheric psychological thriller in which, along with Daniel, we try to separate fact from fiction. Daniel loves and respects his mother and listens closely to her detailed description of the farm, its environs, and her neighbors. She has particular contempt for a wealthy and influential landowner named Håkan Greggson, whom she denounces as a criminal who has led others astray.

This is a riveting tale that deals with parent-child conflict, sexual misconduct, and the inexplicable workings of the human mind. As Tilde's mesmerizing account unfolds, we are convinced by her articulate and cogent recitation. She accuses her husband and others of telling lies to cover up heinous misdeeds. Smith, of course, has a few tricks up his sleeve, and it is only when Daniel does some investigating of his own that he unearths the whole truth. "The Farm" is a compelling and haunting novel that demonstrates how those closest to us may inflict devastating wounds that never completely heal.

Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right

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