Daniel hasn’t heard from his parents in months, since they moved to an idyllic farmstead in Sweden to retire. When his father calls and tells him that his mother is sick, that her mind has failed her, it’s a shock. Even more so when his mother calls and says that his father is involved in a criminal conspiracy, and is trying to have her committed in order to keep her quiet. Daniel’s mother runs London to him to tell him her story of terrible crimes covered up by a powerful land owner, and to try convince him of her sanity. It’s unclear at every turn who’s telling the truth, who’s really hiding something, and who is lying to themselves.
There are no reliable narrators here. Anyone could be lying, or bending the truth to best suit their version of events, whether they realize it or not. Trying to unravel what’s real, what’s imagined, and what people are really thinking is a constant game throughout, and is what builds the suspense and thrill of the story. The main plot is told by Daniel’s mother, Tilde, and spans her childhood before she ran away from home to resettle in London to her current desperate flight from the farm. She toes the line just between believable and delusional, and it’s that unstable footing that keeps you involved in Tilde’s story. The differing perspectives and realities that exist within what was once a close family are what make the central mystery, and where the real tragedy exists. The answer (or what seems to be) found in the end didn’t, to me, have a completely solid grounding in the rest of the story. It’s suitably shocking, but doesn’t provide a particularly satisfying resolution. I felt like the characters deserved a little more than what ended up feeling like a bit of a cheap twist, because they are drawn so well. Tilde specifically, or at least her version of herself, is believable and engaging because of how much resilience and caring she puts up in the face of what she’s seeing. I really enjoyed trying to get to the bottom of her story with her, whether I was satisfied with the ending or not.