Iain Reid’s novel is short. A couple of hundred pages. The story is broken up into small bits. A snippet of a love story. A bit of a horror tale. A little mystery. What is the meaning of the title? What things are they thinking of ending? Who is thinking this? I’m thinking of ending things is a highly stylized book. It reminded me a bit of Flowers for Algernon. It’s not quite as good as Flowers for Algernon. Few stories are.
The stylistic tick here. Is the use of short sentences. Sometimes. Very. Short. Sentences.
A little of this goes a long way. Mixed in with the short, choppy sentences are the occasional obscure word. Near the start of the book, one of our heroes says he is a cruciverbalist. He then uses the word ipseity, which means self-hood. The odd five-dollar word is sprinkled here and there, like the short sentences, designed to trip the reader for a moment and make them pay attention.
And this is the odd bit, for the most part there seems to be nothing to pay attention to. A couple is on a road trip. The women recalls the night they met. It’s a snowy night. Then there are a few strange bits. The woman keeps getting calls from some strange person who has been stalking her. In-between the chapters, we find small dialogue snippets of two people discussing a crime scene of some kind. Now we have to worry a bit, is the stalker going to get the woman? Or is she the one going to commit the crime?
I was a bit disappointed with the ending. It was the kind resolution that was inevitable in this kind of story. Once you are able to put all the pieces together, you find that the picture doesn’t match the one on the box. Maybe it’s just the lonely loser in me that doesn’t like how the story ends.
I enjoyed I’m Thinking of Ending Things.