This is my first experience with Megan Abbott and I can definitely say I am a fan.
The focus of this book is on the darkness of the psyche and the relationship between two women in particular. It is interested in how people come in and out of our lives and how they might change everything, mean everything, even with just a few moments.
Told from the perspective of Kit, this story is set in the fiercely competitive boy's world of research science, where Kit and Diane are both paving a way for themselves. When Diane shows up at Kit's lab days before a new team is to be selected for a very prestigious study, everything about their past when they were younger comes flooding back to Kit and fills her slowly with dread and doubt about who Diane really is.
Seeing their entanglements from the past in alternating chapters was a nice technique. They are competitive, but they each push each other to be better. There is a rivalry, but there is a kinship, and on Kit's part a reverential or almost mystical view of Diane and her stark perfection. I thought I was so smart figuring out what Diane's big secret was early on. But there are so many more layers at play here.
The book swings heavily toward the psychological and the fallout that can occur when people are forced into a corner, pushed far past their comfort zone but forced to keep silent about it, and the violence that can bubble up from that. It is about the relationship between two women, but even more than the moments they spent together, it is about how their relationship grew and mythologized in the interim, in the in-between.
My thanks to Little Brown for my copy of this one to read and review.
Associate editor, amateur photdographer, bibliophile, and occasional sleuth.