Usually, as soon as I read the final paragraph of a book, I know more or less what I'll be writing in the review. However, I finished reading Killing Cupid two days ago and I still haven't really decided what I think of it! I'm torn between finding it chilling or filled with black humour, whether I should slightly empathise with the characters or write them off as sociopathic sickos who deserve everything they get (and each other), whether it's a tale of love or hate. I think it's definitely one of those Marmite books that will inspire both great praise and harsh criticism, but either way, it's certainly a book that will make you think long after you've turned the final page.
Killing Cupid has been written in tandem by Louise Voss and Mark Edwards, (who also wrote Catch Your Death - click on the link to see my review of that). It's a surprising set-up - especially as they don't even live together so must do their writing completely separately - but one that works remarkably well, especially in this novel where the narrative voice alternates between the two central characters, Alex and Siobhan, with one chapter often picking up right where the other left off despite switching narrators and viewpoints.
It's one of those plotlines that sounds ridiculous if you summarise it into just a few sentences (and one that will be difficult to explain without giving away huge spoilers, which I always try to avoid) so I'll have to be a bit vague about the intricacies of the plot.
In essence, it is a story of love and passion that know no boundaries. Alex becomes infatuated with his writing tutor Siobhan so he thinks nothing of breaking into her house and stalking her. Siobhan is a bit slow on the uptake (at times, in the first half of the book, you want to scream at her "work it out, woman!") but eventually realises what is going on and gives him his marching orders. But when he gets over her and finds a new girlfriend, she actually feels a bit miffed and rejected. Suffice to say, it will suck you in so that their behaviour seems logical in a warped kind of way, until you suddenly take a step back and think "nooo, this is certainly not normal, this is in fact highly disturbing, real people would never ever do this is in a million years ... would they?". And there you have what disturbed me and didn't sit quite right with me. Take two lonely, slightly screwed-up people with obsessive personalities and you could, in fact, imagine this happening ... but then you feel bad for thinking this, because anybody who has gone through the terrifying experience of being stalked in real life almost certainly wouldn't "do a Siobhan" so it seems somewhat disparaging to suggest they would. It's evocative of the mentality that rape victims "were asking for it" or were saying no when they really meant yes.
I remember the English lit seminars I used to attend in my student days and I could imagine some really heated discussions arising from the premise of this novel ! It would be a great book for reading groups to discuss and I could also see it being adapted for TV or even the big screen. I'd love to see what the lead actor and actress would do with Alex and Siobhan !
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £6.99
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Harper (2 Aug 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007460716
- ISBN-13: 978-0007460717
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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