The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton

7deathsThis book has looked intriguing to me for awhile. I love stories where people are trapped in loops living their lives over and over again for some reason. This book is not quite like that, but it’s similarly high-concept.  A nameless man finds himself in the woods outside what appears to be an upper-class party at an English country estate. A woman may have just been murdered in front of him — but he has no recollection of who or where he is. And just as he’s starting to figure it out — he falls asleep and wakes up on the same day, at the same party, but as a different person.

It turns out that our main character has eight (I think? I lost track) chances to experience this day, each as a different person, with the ultimate goal of solving the mystery of who killed a woman named Evelyn Hardcastle. This is a fiendishly complicated puzzle-type of book, and it’s the sort of thing that’s only going to be worthwhile if the author can pull it off in a satisfactory way. I think Stuart Turton pretty much did — but what didn’t work for me was any deep sense of emotional engagement. I wanted to solve the puzzle but I never got really pulled into the characters or caring what happened to them, which I think is an important missing piece in a novel like this — it can’t be just about the puzzle.

 

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3 Comments

Filed under Fiction -- general

3 responses to “The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton

  1. I’m currently reading this so haven’t read your review – I’ll read it when I’ve finished. Weirdly, my edition is called the Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, omitting the ‘half’. I wonder why.

    • The title is either 7 or 7 1/2 depending on which country it’s published in … no idea why.

      • Weird. Anyway, I’ve finished it now and I agree with your review. Though I did enjoy the way Aiden was aware of and used the different personalities he inhabited, I found it rather like a virtual reality game. The author tried to ratchet up the tension but I was so confused by the tangled plot that it was a relief to finish it.

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