The Uninvited

Liz Jensen

The Uninvited

A seven-year-old girl puts a nail-gun to her grandmother's neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry. Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger's Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioural patterns, and an outsider's fascination with group dynamics. Nothing obvious connects Hesketh's Southeast Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behaviour of his beloved step-son, Freddy. But when Hesketh's Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father. 3.8 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
The Uninvited

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Format Paperback
Pages 320
RRP
Date of Publication July 2012
ISBN 978-1408821152
Publisher Bloomsbury
 

A seven-year-old girl puts a nail-gun to her grandmother's neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry. Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger's Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioural patterns, and an outsider's fascination with group dynamics. Nothing obvious connects Hesketh's Southeast Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behaviour of his beloved step-son, Freddy. But when Hesketh's Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father.

The Rapture by Liz Jensen.

Reviews

The Guardian

Justine Jordan

Hesketh's matter-of-factness makes for a brilliantly effective narrative voice in the face of unbelievable events: deadpan, even comic (and leading to what must be the unsexiest sex scene in the history of literature) ... It's true that as this book's momentum builds, the dialogue can lapse into the familiar briskness of the action thriller: characters start to make wisecracks, and say things like "It's a race against time and right now, we're losing". When Hesketh peers into the mashing jaws of a wood-pulper, it's a safe bet that within 30 pages someone will get pulped. But Jensen ensures that the plot teasers and red herrings obligatory to the thriller form stem here from Hesketh's personality.

20/07/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Alexandra Heminsley

At this point, what seemed like a dense corporate thriller becomes something far more chilling. Lock discovers a link between the phenomena: both the children and his professional subjects seem to be victims of a type of culturally specific possession ... As difficult to read as it is to put down, The Uninvited is a masterclass in creepiness – as unsettling as Margaret Atwood or Kazuo Ishiguro but with modern detail such as Skype calls, industrial espionage and Twitter. It is this hybrid of haunted souls and capitalist cautionary tale that gives the novel its power.

22/07/2012

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The Sunday Times

John Dugdale

If Jensen’s plot is reminiscent of John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos, her protagonist recalls Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time — although she offers a more planet-wide vision than ­Wyndham’s classic tale of golden-eyed children taking over a ­village, and puts Lock through far darker experiences than Haddon’s teenager with Asperger’s. But what is distinctive about Jensen’s foray into literary science fiction is the mixture of the two, the typically audacious marriage of narrator and genre that ensures her novel is psychologically rich and consistently thought-provoking.

22/07/2012

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The Independent

Emma Hagestadt

Jensen has dreamt up a very concrete-feeling universe in which shape-shifting pixies and corporate fat-cats meet head on. Subverting the usual tropes of horror and SF, she succeeds in portraying an end-of-the-world scenario that is more freshly imagined than most. For a novel centering on a supposedly emotion-free man, it has a great deal to say about love and thwarted relationships.

17/05/2013

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The Daily Express

Lianne Kolirin

There is no question that The Uninvited makes for a gripping read but it would be a stretch to describe it as enjoyable. The idea of the global population of children turning feral and with murderous intent is seriously unsettling and while Hesketh makes for an interesting character his emotional ineptitude leaves the reader struggling to sympathise with him.

06/07/2012

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