The Shining Girls

Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls

Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back. Working with an ex-homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby has to unravel an impossible mystery. 3.5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
The Shining Girls

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 432
RRP
Date of Publication April 2013
ISBN 978-0007464562
Publisher HarperCollins
 

Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back. Working with an ex-homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby has to unravel an impossible mystery.

Reviews

The Observer

Alison Flood

Beukes also – perhaps thanks to her science fiction background – doesn't make the mistake of trying to explain time travel, or make sense of it. The house just is. It does what it does. As does Harper, a psychotic blank at the heart of the novel; Beukes saves her empathising, her ability to create vivid, glowing characters, for the women he kills. This works, usually, although setting herself the task of summoning up 1950s Chicago in a few pages leads to some shoehorning. And some of her creations are pulled off better than others: Alice, her 1940s transsexual, is thoughtful and moving; Mal, the druggie who sees Harper coming and going in the 80s, is more clumsily drawn.

05/05/2013

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The Times

Marcel Berlins

Beukes commands her material with persuasive skill; the reader is drawn into finding Harper’s voyages across the decades quite normal. The thriller takes over from the impossible.

11/05/2013

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The Independent

Roz Kaveney

Harper is a derelict from the Depression, who talent-spots young girls in different decades and social classes, and comes back to kill them as adult women. He is both a real character into whose heart we look deeply – and are utterly repelled by – and a symbolic representation of the misogyny that has always stopped so many talented women fulfilling their potential. This is a novel about a serial killer which pays the correct amount of attention to his victims – African American, radical, lesbian, transgender and so on – so that in each case we care passionately that, perhaps, this one will escape him.

22/05/2013

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The Independent

Simmy Richman

... a reasonably compelling and thought-provoking thriller, but The Shining Girls is ultimately another high-concept novel that suffers in the execution. Because although the idea dictates that we travel backwards and forwards in time, the story frequently feels all over the place in ways presumably unintended.

18/05/2013

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The Sunday Times

John Dugdale

In practice, Beukes’s captivating premise too often turns out to make for frustrating reading. The novel’s jumbled chronology proves a nuisance, not an intriguing jigsaw puzzle. Harper’s victims and their respective eras are ably portrayed, but glimpsed too briefly to make much of an impression.

19/05/2013

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The Guardian

Ben Hamilton

Beukes's craft has improved in other ways, too. As with the heroines of Zoo City and Moxyland, Kirby is barbed and sarcastic, but she's less likely to reduce everything to a quip. The problem is that the killing is so brutal and pitiless that it threatens to overwhelm the rest of the novel. In a way it's commendable that Beukes hasn't softened the violence, but it doesn't sit well with the tricksy, jigsaw quality of the story. This is an entertaining novel that will be read with keen attention, but the reader may end up slightly confused by the meaning of it all.

01/05/2013

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