Thursday, February 26, 2009

"The Night Following" Don't rush to read.

The unnamed driver is using her husband's car while hers is in the shop and finds a condom in the glove compartment.
While driving home from shopping and distracted by her sorrow, sunlight momentarily blinds her and she hits and kills Ruth Mitchell who had been riding her bike. She knows that she has killed Ruth and drives away, unable to face the consequences of her deed.
She immediately begins to feel regret and when her husband tells her that their marriage isn't working and he's leaving to live with his lover, she starts following Ruth's bereaved husband, to see how he is coping with Ruth's death.
This psychological novel is very drawn out and I found myself skipping pages looking for sections relevant to the outcome of the story.
The story moves between Arthur's writing a diary to his late wife with such detail that it takes away from the novel's action, i.e. Arthur asking Ruth where the pressure cooker is or wondering about his ineptitude with the microwave.
Arthur finds a story Ruth had been working on with her writing group and then given up and placed it in the attic and then we read pages and pages of this story which has a setting of 1932.
In the meanwhile, the woman who killed Arthur's wife arranges to be more and more in his life, in an attempt to take Ruth's place and make him believe that his wife had returned.
I found the action developed too slowly and did not care about the characters and the premise was rather bizarre.
Mild recommendation for the patient reader. 2 1/2 stars.

The novel was nominated for an Edgar award for the best mystery novel of the year. How the judges picked this novel and left out Michael Koryta's "Envy the Night" is a mystery in itself.

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