CBR Bingo: Question
I chose Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go for the Question square because I was interested in who the “you” was in the title. The question was answered on several levels in this excellent novel I never want to read again.
I Let You Go opens with the tragic death of five-year-old Jacob, who is killed in front of his mother in a hit and run. The narrative alternates between the detectives trying to track down the killer and Jenna, who has fled to a remote seaside town to recover from the tragedy.
I initially picked this book because I thought it was your basic suspense novel, but that vastly underrepresents its impact. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say it’s one of the most devastating novels I’ve read in a long time. Mackintosh is a powerful writer who brings things to life with such precision it’s impossible not to be engrossed. Her characters are drawn in careful detail; they feel like real people, in some cases terrifyingly so. As much love as I had for the main character Jenna, I had an equal an amount of hate for another character who was almost too monstrous to be believed. Yet there is no doubt that people like that exist.
I was drawn in by the book’s sensitive writing and the depth of the characters. Nothing feels like it’s being rushed or given short shrift here. The settings are very well done, especially the small town by the water. In her new home, Jenna creates artwork that she sells to vacationers and locals. She writes words or names or phrases in the sand, then takes pictures of them before the tide carries them away. It’s a beautiful parallel to the story, where memory, erasure, and loss feature prominently, and where transience is both a blessing and a wound.
This is one of the strongest books I’ve read all year, but it’s very heavy. There is violence that turned my stomach, though it wasn’t gratuitous. The violence had a clear purpose and was integral to the story. Even so, a very tough read at times and not a novel I would re-read. But it was powerful and I’ll be thinking about it for some time.
Bingo square “Question”: The title of the book can be interpreted in various ways, and the answer to the question, “Who is the ‘you’?” shifts depending on the angle at which you examine the story.