17 May 2011

Book Review: A Kind of Intimacy by Jenn Ashworth

What a great find. Knowing nothing about A Kind of Intimacy or its author Jenn Ashworth, I picked this one up at the Border's closeout for 60% off. I actually picked up a few Europa Editions that day just because they have interesting covers and are well made books. So I guess it is icing on the cake that I really liked the novel itself.

In the early (and I mean early) pages I found myself rooting for Annie as she leaves her past behind and pledges to get a fresh new start in life. I love the opening scene where she kicks her old couch a few times as she prepares to leave her old house for good. I had such a hopeful feeling for Annie and her future. When she arrives in her new neighborhood I bristled at the insensitivity of her new neighbor who mistakes her for a char woman and can't get it through his head that she is single--that there is no husband and no child still to arrive.

And then you start to realize that something is a little off about Annie--that is until you realize that there is A LOT that is off about Annie. This might be kind of spoilery, but I don't think it will ruin the suspense created in the book. Annie is a total whack job. She is delusional and a pathological liar. I will leave it up to you to find out if her story is a tragedy or a triumph. I don't want to give too much away.

I was absolutely drawn into Annie's story and couldn't wait to see what happened next. There were moments when I was absolutely squirming in embarassment as Annie is about to get caught in a lie. But like all pathological liars she brilliantly deflects scrutiny, at least for a while. There was suspsense, and humor, and more than a little hmm...kinkiness. Its dark, its disturbing, but eminently readable.

This is a fantastic book. And a debut novel to boot.


  1. Oh, I am so glad that this was a good one! I happened to chance upon my local Borders on their very last day of operation when everything was slashed to 80% off. I wound up picking this book up on a whim because it sounded rather cool AND because, as you say, the Europa editions are rather nicely put together. Now I'm even more excited for this!

  2. A book about a total whack job? Sounds like something I'd like.

  3. Your review has me very intrigued to read this one!

  4. Hmm. You've certainly piqued my curiosity. As Ti says, "A total whack job"? Sign me up.

  5. My housemate made me read this a couple of years ago, and I thought it was really good - I was also living next door to someone not unlike Annie at the time... Jenn is also the loveliest person, I met her at a publisher event and we had such fun. Her second novel is waiting for me, now that my housemate has relinquished it.

  6. She sounds like one of my older brothers. Can't wait to read this!

  7. Usually when I get a book for a bargain and haven't heard of it the book ends up awful. Glad that didn't happen for you this time! This sounds like a really interesting book and I'm intrigued by the "twist."

  8. This sounds good! I love Europe editions, too... will keep an eye out for it.

  9. So glad you liked this one--I am always on the lookout for good Europas as I love them!

  10. Steph: Having now read it, I would be happy if I had paid full price for it. And the author certainly deserves full price for it. I guess the difference in us getting these cheapo copies is that Borders Inc takes the loss. Unlike a remainder where the publisher/author does.

    Ti: It is a book that definitely makes me feel like I really got my crap together.

    Kathleen: It is worth taking a chance.

    Picky: And it all seems so believable as well.

    Simon: If you ever run into her again tell her I am trying to get a buzz going in the US.

    Daniel: Maybe you should write a book about your brothers.

    Ash: I have had the same experience. You think the cheap price makes it worth the effort and then you realize how boring or bad a book can be. But occasionally there is a gem.

    JoAnn: Worth looking into.

    Lola: Out of the two Europas I have actually read, I have liked them both. I have others on the shelf waiting to be read, we will see if my streak continues.

  11. I read this and thought it excellent as well! I sort of like unreliable narrators--Ashworth really knows how to string a reader along and keep the pages turning! She has a new book out that I'm looking forward to reading, but I am not sure when it will be released here.

  12. I like the sound of this and have put it on my tbr list. Thanks for reviewing it and bringing it to my attention.


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