Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
The Grownup: Gillian Flynn, January 17, 2017
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
The last published book from Gillian Flynn (to date) needs to be savoured, but as a single-chapter short story, it’s hard.
The Grownup was originally published as What Do You Do? in George R.R. Martin’s short story anthology Rogues. Following the explosive success of Gone Girl (and considering every thriller published since is supposedly ‘the new Gone Girl‘ – whether on a train or in a book or over dinner or in the park or any other fiction shelf entry post-2013), nobody really wants to be Flynn trying to follow it with her fourth novel. Cleverly avoiding the hoo-ha, she lowers our expectations with this next work.
The unnamed narrator of The Grownup is a former soft core sex worker-cum(ahem!)-psychic who attempts to extort money by faking supernatural vibes but appears to get herself caught in the midst of a real one.
Much of it will be familiar to fans of Flynn’s most famous work. The narrator – unnamed – has a cynical honesty who deconstructs human psychology with ease, and passively manipulates other characters for her own ends. The game changes when the reader’s suppositions are flipped on their head without warning, and it happens more than once.
It’s a great plot for a short story; it seems just the right length and showcases Flynn’s ability to trick you even when you think you’re being clever. It’s not the new Gone Girl, but nothing is ever likely to be. But it is a clear message that she’s not lost it, and hopefully she’ll be bringing more of it very soon.