This is the first novel I have read by Elizabeth Day after falling in love with her memoir, How to Fail and podcast. Her recent novel of 2021, Magpie, is creepy, full of suspense and packed with experiences that reflect her own regarding infertility.
Regardless of my already being a fan, I attempt to remain impartial… but I bloomin’ loved it!
It is the first fiction of many that I hope to read of Day’s, so much so I currently have The Party and Home Fires on loan from the library. A great introduction to reading her books – I wonder what her previous ones will be like?
I didn’t know what to expect from Magpie. The writing is very unique, set in the present but very much similar to how Day would speak herself.
It follows Marisa, a young woman in London who is viewing a property for her and her boyfriend Jake. Everything seems to be going great – until their new lodger, Kate, moves in. It seems Kate is trying to steal Jake from her, but is all as it really seems? Is Kate the bad guy? Who is she – really?
The close third person narrative provides a great insight into how the characters feel, along with history into their life – but are they perhaps too close that they have failed to take into account alternative perspectives?
The eerie presence of magpies invading the house at the start is unnerving, particularly when it becomes evident something shiny and precious is at stake of being stolen.
I will say no more, but there is a HUGE SHOCK TWIST. So much so that I gasped and a little ‘no way’ escaped from me as I was racing through the book. It is dark yet so compelling, where Day cleverly draws upon themes of mental health and the not-so-much-talked about topic of infertility.
Whilst I have no children of my own, I know this will be an empathetic story for some readers, particularly those who are aware of Day’s battles with trying for a baby and tackling nasty comments and looks from others.
Annabelle, Jake’s mum, brings about the perfect mother-in-law storyline – but is she really as much of a cow as Day portrays her to be? Will darling precious Jakey start to open his eyes?
But most importantly, who is stealing from who?
You can pretty much say I ate this novel as it was that good. Tragically flawed characters and a great twist all gobbled up in a couple of days.
I look forward to reading more of her novels for sure 🙂
Rating – 4.5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre – suspense, thriller, psychological fiction