Welcome to 'Single White Female' with a motherly touch

PIE by Elizabeth Day “What will she do?” wonders Marisa, the nervous and eager woman to conceive in “Magpie,” Elizabeth Day’s fourth n...

PIEby Elizabeth Day

“What will she do?” wonders Marisa, the nervous and eager woman to conceive in “Magpie,” Elizabeth Day’s fourth novel. “In a cheap movie – the kind she watches on cable channels in the afternoon lying on the sofa when she should be working – the aggrieved woman would pack her bags and leave the house in a fit of righteous indignation. .”

But, of course, Marisa does no such thing. What fun would that be?

Right from the start, we worry about Marisa, the kind of doomed heroine who overemphasizes that she’s found the perfect man and the perfect home to start what she believes to be the perfect life. At the start of the novel, she has just moved in with Jake, a handsome consultant, after a whirlwind romance and the only possible obstacle seems to be the sudden intrusion of Kate, a tenant who moves in to help the couple save as they plan the future. — above all, having a child. “But nothing stayed perfect together, did it?” Marisa thinks to herself. And, in fact, things go wrong with remarkable speed.

At the start of “Magpie,” a twist comes up that has me gasping out loud. And it’s the kind of twist that makes you reevaluate everything you’ve read before. And the twist marks the novel – at least for its first two-thirds – as one of the great schools of Guignol thrillers of which Gillian Flynn remains the current master and, as much as countless book jackets in recent years have asserted otherwise. , few have approached his virtuosic, go-big-or-go-home approach. These novels, like their cinematic equivalent, Brian DePalmaThe dizzying, baroque and self-referential thrillers of – place their characters in increasingly extreme situations, forcing them to make hairpin turns or Jekyll-Hyde transformations that risk undermining their credibility. We watch Marisa, Jake, and Kate make choices that strain credibility or at least consistency of character. But realism is not the point. It’s not about how things are but how they To feel – and the deeper truths that can be extracted from that feeling.

As we’ve seen with novels like Jessica Knoll’s “Luckiest Girl Alive,” this expressionist style can be a hugely effective way to dig into the pains and terrors of toxic relationships, domestic abuse, trauma, illness. mental. In the case of “Magpie,” the near-constant feverish tone of the narrative matches the way it feels suffer from pregnancy anxiety, fears of romantic betrayal, conflict between in-laws, body horror. And the spiraling energy at the center of the novel captures how fertility struggles can act as a trigger, upsetting everything else in life, laying bare all of its vulnerabilities.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Welcome to 'Single White Female' with a motherly touch
Welcome to 'Single White Female' with a motherly touch
Newsrust - US Top News
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