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Each of the Maguire brothers has his own driving, single-minded obsession. For Jonathan it is his magnificent, talented, and desirable wife, Harriet. For Roger it is the elaborate universe he has constructed in a shed in their parents' garden, populated by millions of tiny insects. While Jonathan's pursuit of Harriet leads him to feelings of jealousy and anguish, Roger's immersion in the world he has created reveals a capability and talent that are absent from his everyday life.
Roger is known to all as a loving, protective, yet simple man, but the ever-growing complexity of the insect farm suggests that he is capable of far more than anyone believes. Following a series of strange and disturbing incidents, Jonathan begins to question every story he has ever been told about his brother - and if he has so completely misjudged Roger's mind, what else might he have overlooked about his family and himself?
The Insect Farm is a dramatic psychological thriller about the secrets we keep from those we love most and the extent to which the people closest to us are also the most unknowable. In his astounding debut, Stuart Prebble guides us through haunting twists and jolting discoveries as a startling picture emerges: One of the Maguire brothers is a killer, and the other has no idea.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Janice on 12-05-15
Throughout this story I experienced a sense of foreboding, knowing from the prologue that something dark had happened, but with none of the details. The story is told in retrospective by the younger brother, Jonathan, who relates his life, especially in regards to his relationship with his older but mentally handicapped brother Roger, and his love for Harriet. The narrative takes its time, telling anecdotal stories of their childhood, teen years and young adult years with details that on the surface may seem insignificant, but successfully painting a picture of each character so we feel we know them in a reasonably intimate way. When unexpected and unexplainable events happen, we begin to doubt, or at least wonder if our perceptions of the three principal characters are true. This is where the foreboding builds, as it becomes clear that the ship is heading for the iceberg and nothing can turn the boat around.
What makes this story compulsively readable to me is the quality of the writing. As Jonathan tells his story, there is a ring of authenticity in the emotions that drive the actions. You can’t approve of everything he does, and the characters are shown with all their flaws. But in spite of not finding them fully appealing, I did believe them and sympathized with their plight.
This is not a mystery in the sense of a procedural - it’s more of an intimate confessional that reveals its dark secrets small bits at a time. It kept me guessing and kept me hooked. The reading by Rupert Degas was outstanding, especially as he voiced mentally challenged Roger.
PS – If you are hesitant to select this title because of a distaste for bugs, don’t worry – it’s really not graphic about the insects.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Delah on 07-28-15
Good story, excellent narrator
I enjoyed this story. It has a little bit of a slow start but the slow start is interesting. The book is a psychological character study (my favorite kind). Not everything is explained, some things are left to interpretation. I like that. However if you are the type of person that likes everything wrapped up in a bow at the end with every T crossed and every I dotted this may not be the book for you.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful