The Behaviour of Moths – Poppy Adams

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The Behaviour of Moths – Poppy Adams

Post by Graham on Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:26 pm

The Behaviour of Moths is a very easy book to begin reading but it doesn’t take long before you realise the narrator, the elderly Ginny, may not be entirely reliable. By page 4, when she checks the time on both her wrist watches, you begin to suspect she might also be a bit batty. Ginny inherited the family pile, a decaying West Country ‘gothic extravaganza’ along with her father’s obsession with moths and she now awaits the arrival of her estranged sister Vivi. The story covers the few days of their cohabitation before tragedy ensues. During this time, she relives their early family lives and learns the troubles and dark secrets she has wilfully obscured, her sister’s accident, her mother’s untimely death and her father’s descent into dementia.

Once again, I find myself at odds with the blurb – ‘dark book’ yes, ‘extremely funny’ no. As Adams lets Ginny weave the tale of the sisters’ early years into their uneasy new relationship she flits seamlessly from past to present tense and reveals to us if not to Ginny the unwelcome family truths. The fascination is in hearing Ginny’s convincing logic as it propels her to a fateful decision and realising at the same time how twisted it is.

I hoped against hope for a happy ending and in a way Adams squares the circle of what must happen over leaving the reader satisfied. It is Adams first novel and almost a text book example of character, plotting and pace. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Graham
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