Book Review – Foe

By Iain Reid
Simon & Schuster Fiction
Release Date: 24th Jan 2019
Rating: ****

We don’t get visitors
Not out here
We never have…

Junior and Henrietta are a quiet married couple. They live a comfortable, isolated life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other.

One day, a stranger from the city arrives with surprising news. Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm…very far away.

The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Hen won’t have a chance to miss him at all, because she won’t be left alone – not even for a moment. Hen will have company, familiar company.

After being visited by a stranger one night, Junior and Hen’s lives change. Junior has been randomly selected by the Government to live on a man-made planet for years. Terrance, the visitor disrupts their lives as soon as he drives up to their house. Hardly any information is given, he avoids their questions, the only thing he does make clear is that when Junior is gone… Hen won’t have to be alone, there will be a “replacement”. As soon as he leaves Hen just wants to be alone, the thoughts of her husband going away for years just like that, is unexpected and big news to take in, she becomes uneasy and anxious. As time goes by they hear nothing from Terrance, their lives go back to normal, Hen goes back to normal, until one day he drives up to the farm again, to disrupt their idyllic lives once more.

I kept thinking to myself who even is this man? Why do they believe a stranger? He hardly tells them anything, yet they believe everything he does say. Is he just messing with their minds? Why has he waited all these years to return?

Terrance makes Hen, Junior and you as a reader uncomfortable and anxious. As the novel goes on his intentions and agenda become more intense, he follows Junior everywhere, he knows his every move, constantly asks him very personal questions, records his answers to thigs, takes photos of him. He slowly takes over their lives and becomes suffocating. Every time Junior wakes up the first thing he sees is Terrance staring down at him evading his personal space, evading his home, evading his relationship with his wife. How much information does this stranger need?

This novel is haunting and thought provoking, I loved how it made you think about and question marriage, relationships, loneliness, desires, future dreams and love. It wasn’t your average sci-fi novel, it made me really think and question things, I love it when books do that to you. My mind was constantly trying to rationalise what was going to happen, who was this Terrance guy, what is happening to this couples pretty “perfect” life? Is it a social experiment? My mind was working overtime and I just needed to know what was going on.

I don’t want to give too much of the book away all I can say is it had me on the edge of my seat throughout, Foe was a creative, eerie, surreal psychological thriller and I enjoyed it very much. If you like the programme Black Mirror or the book 1984 this is for you. Reid is certainly a superb storyteller, the writing was dark, edgy, full of twists and tension and I lapped up every page. As uneasy as this book made me feel, I didn’t want it to end.

Foe comes out in the UK on 24th January 2019 (which is also my birthday!) I urge you to read this novel, even if you are not a huge sci-fi fan this is a brilliant and unique story. You can get the Canadian edition  on Amazon following this link. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, happy reading! Katie x

*Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Fiction for an ARC in exchange for my fair and honest review.*

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