Review: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Seeing the new animated advert for the paperback release of Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls recently, and learning that the paperback was due today, reminded me that I still hadn’t written a review of the book.

The story revolves around Kirby, a survivor of a time-travelling serial killer, hunting her assailant as he continues his grisly crusade, while he leaps backwards and forwards between the modern day and the Depression era, leaving little clues of anachronism behind him.

The time travel aspects of the novel were a small challenge, but ably aided by each chapter being headed with the current year and either the killer’s name, Kirby’s, or the name of the shining girl, the victim to be. Each target of the killer was to be in some way luminous, a bringer of light and change, snuffed out too early; a commentary on how society can snuff the light of promising young women.

The time-travel aspects of the story are rewarding, the characterisation is brilliant and the plot keeps you interested; you are really invested in Kirby’s quest, you’re truly repulsed by the killer’s deeds. The only point when I was somewhat pulled out of the narrative was at the transition to the third act, which I felt was a little abrupt and too reliant on happenstance. But aside from that I loved The Shining Girls and I recommend it to you.

The paperback of The Shining Girls is out now, and in May 2013 Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company acquired the television rights.

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