Shirley Jackson meets Ottessa Moshfegh meets My Sister the Serial Killer in a brilliantly unsettling and darkly funny debut novel full of suspense and paranoia
George March’s latest novel is a smash hit.
None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings.
A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence on the Upper East Side. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of
olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book –
a pathetic sex worker, more a figure of derision than desire – is based on Mrs. March.
One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.
A razor-sharp exploration of the fragility of identity and the smothering weight of expectations, Mrs. March heralds the arrival of a wicked and wonderful new voice.
Very different to my usual kind of read – and strangely compelling!
Mrs March reaps the rewards of her husband’s successful career as a novelist. Living in a luxury apartment on the Upper East Side she thrives on the attention his latest book brings her way. Calling in at her favourite bakery each morning, she is upset at the staff’s assumption that his main character – a prostitute, no less – is based on his wife. That’s her last visit to the shop, depriving her of her favourite olive bread each day. As she begins to probe, she realises there are more thing she isn’t aware of.
Mrs March – I wondered if we’d ever get to find out her first name – is a bit of a lonely creature. I wasn’t sure of the period this was set in; the lady herself is either living in or is a product of the 1950’s and 1960’s. With rigid ideas on the proper way of doing things, she sticks to her fur coat and dated style. Doing things properly is very important to her. Notably, while she thrives off the fame and fortune her husband’s new book brings, she doesn’t actually read it herself. As the story progresses we live inside the mind of Mrs March, and a rather weird place it is to be. With spots of humour, this is a cleverly constructed novel which keeps the reader on their toes and quite unable to put it down. I can’t put my finger on what made me stay with this one, but it is not easily forgotten. For me, this is a four star read.
My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.
Tags: women’s psychological fiction
- Format: ebook, hardcover, audiobook
- Size: 216 pages
- Publisher: Fourth Estate
- Publication Date: 05 August 2021
- Book Links:
A native of Spain, Virginia Feito was raised in Madrid and Paris, and studied English and drama at Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a copywriter until she quit to write her debut novel. She lives in Madrid.