- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: MCD (May 8 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780374228194
- ISBN-13: 978-0374228194
- ASIN: 0374228191
- Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.9 x 23.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 476 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #287,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Our Kind of Cruelty: A Novel Hardcover – May 8 2018
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“A searing, chilling sliver of perfection . . . May well turn out to be the year’s best thriller.” ―Charles Finch, The New York Times Book Review
“This is simply one of the nastiest and most disturbing thrillers I’ve read in years. In short: I loved it, right down to the utterly chilling final line.” ―Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
“Hall’s novel is a page-turner with a timely message.” ―Real Simple
“[A] strange, sexy novel." ―Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
"[A] fiendishly clever psychological thriller . . . Hall forces her readers to consider their attitudes to the sexes." ―Alison Flood, The Guardian
“The best unreliable narrator book I’ve ever read, and a perfect, terrifying tale of obsession, delusion, and gaslighting.” ―Molly Odintz, CrimeReads
"A seriously twisted story of obsessive attachment . . . If you like sustained discomfort you'll love this one." ― Sarah Murdoch, The Toronto Star
"In Hall’s impressive novel, sexual role-playing games have dangerous undercurrents . . . While the orchestration of suspense is masterly, Hall’s real agenda becomes apparent in a feminist subtext: the way in which female desire is judged more harshly in modern society." ―Barry Forshaw, Financial Times
"A story of obsession and self delusion, as well as the pain that intense passion can bring, it is disturbing and thrilling." ―Daily Mail
"Thrilling . . . The reader will wrangle over what's real and what's imagined. As a courtroom drama unfurls, readers may be left wondering if their interpretation of events is due to their own biases." ―The Irish News
"If you liked The Girl on the Train and Apple Tree Yard you’ll love Our Kind of Cruelty . . . A gripping courtroom drama, with a surprising feminist message." ―Stylist Magazine
"One of the most unsettling books I have read in a while but brilliant . . . Obsessive love has never been written so frighteningly." ―Women's Day
“[A] slow-burn, sinister psychological thriller . . . Hall’s depiction of stalker mentality and behavior is chilling. Perhaps most interesting is the examination of gender politics and how women are punished for sexual behavior in ways that men are not.” ―Library Journal
"Hall brings the unreliable narrator to new heights in this disturbing narrative . . . For fans of Nabokov’s Lolita [and] Highsmith’s Ripley tales." ―Booklist
"Here's a change―a psychological thriller in which a man is the crazy one . . . Which is worse―an emotionally disturbed murderer or a woman with a fierce libido? Hall's U.S. debut is designed to show just how much trouble society has answering that question." ―Kirkus
"Like Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, Nabokov’s Lolita, or Highsmith’s Ripley novels, Hall’s Our Kind of Cruelty draws us into the twisted mind and far-fetched excuses of a killer, telling his own tale. The perfect unreliable narrator, gaslighting his way to anti-hero greatness, with a stunning conclusion that chills with its unadorned bitterness and terrifying plausibility." ―Lit Hub
“A perfect nightmare of a novel―as merciless a thriller as I’ve ever read. Astonishingly dark and sensationally accomplished.” ―A. J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window
“A tense, intelligent thriller that kept me gripped and guessing until the last page―and thinking long after that.” ―Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said
"I tore through Our Kind of Cruelty―toxic love, obsession, and the unflinching unraveling of a mind. Scarily plausible and a great read.” ―Ali Land, author of Good Me Bad Me
"A propulsive and addictive study of the darkness of obsessive love. I was completely gripped from the first word to the last!" ―Lisa Jewell, author of The Girls in the Garden
“Taut, fascinating . . . Be prepared for questions to linger in your head for a longtime afterward.” ―Julia Heaberlin, author of Playing Dead
“Love and desire turn into obsession. Denials and lies become disillusions. This combination turns deadly for Verity (V), her new husband, Angus, and her former lover, Mike. Beginning with a dangerous sex game and ending in a murder and subsequent trial, this psychological thriller gives today’s headlines a gripping and frightening veracity.” ―Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault
“Despite a rough start, Mike has made a good life for himself: he’s a rising star at the firm where he works; he just bought a posh house in London; and he’s in peak physical condition. The only thing missing is his ex-girlfriend, but if he can just prove his devotion to her, he’s sure to win her back. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, though, is it? Parents can betray you, lovers can lie to you, and violence can lurk underneath even the most placid exterior . . . Our Kind of Cruelty is a toxic and addictive book, a menacing psychological thriller that radiates with the cruelest of good intentions.” ―Lauren Peugh, Powell’s Books
“Our Kind of Cruelty is a serious love story―or is it? Our Kind of Cruelty is a story of obsession―or is it one of manipulation by a strong character taking advantage of one who is severely damaged from childhood abuse? Is a narrator unreliable if he truly believes all he says? Our Kind of Cruelty is the ultimate psychological thriller which cleverly hides until the very end the fact that the entire book is a statement which has great relevance in current culture and a twist that I did not see coming.” ―Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction
About the Author
Araminta Hall is the author of Everything and Nothing. She has an MA in creative writing and authorship from the University of Sussex, and teaches creative writing at New Writing South in Brighton, where she lives with her husband and three children. Our Kind of Cruelty is her first book published in the United States.
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Synopsis: Mike Hayes had a terrible childhood - an alcoholic mother, always hungry, and bouncing between foster homes until he was finally taken in permanently by a loving and caring couple. The tumultuous beginning to his life led him down a quiet and lonely life, until he met Verity. Verity was the first person to understand him, the first person he could really trust and the first person he could love fully. Mike dedicates his life to creating the perfect world for V - the perfect house, making sure he has a great job, working hard to look like the perfect man, anything to ensure that V is the happiest woman alive. It doesn't matter that V isn't returning his emails, or that she is about to marry another man - Mike knows this is all just part of an elaborate game they play, and he is committed to seeing it through as a testament of his love for her.
This book is PERFECT when it comes to creep factor. Araminta Hall has created something masterful in twisting together the line between obsession and love, while blurring who is at fault until you as the reader can't be exactly sure who you are rooting for in the story.
I love books with complex and flawed characters, and this book has two lead characters who are deeply twisted characters at their cores, which had me fully engaged with the story. I was absorbed entirely in seeing where this book took me as a reader - every time I thought that it couldn't go any further, it did. It is like watching a car accident about to happen - you want to reach out to stop it, but can't, and meanwhile, can't tear your eyes away from the wreckage.
I think this should be on the to-read pile of anyone who loves a good psychological thriller, as well as any reader who loves reading a good, dark, twisting take on a love story - this book will not disappoint!
Verity is Mike's anchor. He calls himself her Eagle.
They call this game they play Crave.
"Cruelty was a necessary part of our game."
They are both highly intelligent people and are quite successful in their work. He in banking, she in developing artificial intelligence. When he is offered a job in America, the salary is such that they feel he cannot turn it down. He will stay over there a few years, then return to London and buy a house for them both. She has just been made director of the company she works for, so together they are more than financially solvent.
Long distance relationships are not always successful, and Mike and V struggle to maintain theirs. He has an 'incident' in New York which he highly regrets. When he returns home for Christmas he confesses to his indiscretion, and V breaks off with him. Mike is distraught - for he cannot imagine a future without her in it.
Several months later he gets a wedding invitation. It seems that Verity is marrying a man called Agnes Metcalf - and he has been invited to witness their union. Mike is such a fantasist that he actually tells himself that this is all part of the game they play, it is just another Crave. The ultimate Crave.
Mike has no sense of boundaries and no empathy for others. Verity had taught him some social skills, and has encouraged his physical fitness. She has 'created' the man he now is. Since returning to London, he has bought a lovely house in Clapham for Verity. Although she says she wants nothing more to do with him, he thinks she doesn't mean it. He tells his co-workers that he and Verity live together. He sometimes sets the table for two, pouring two glasses of wine, talking to her over the table. She is not there.
Mike sees an implied meaning in most communications from V. He interprets her words and actions the way he wants to see them. He is delusional and obsessive. He also has gaps in his memory which he finds puzzling and troublesome. He has always been lonely except for the time he was with V. He drinks more than he should AND he has anger issues.
"Sometimes two people need each other so much it is worth sacrificing others to make sure they end up together."
Mike sends V some very disturbing emails. These escalate the fractured dynamic between them...
This novel left me feeling conflicted. On the one hand, the protagonist is without a doubt mentally ill, psychotic and 'over the top' obsessed. On the other hand, though you don't ever feel the need to condone what he does, you do have to feel empathy for his horrendous childhood. He was both physically and emotionally abused, severely neglected, and subsequently separated from his alcoholic mother at the tender age of ten. This upbringing has left him so damaged that it has warped his thinking throughout his life.
"Our kind of cruelty" emphasizes the fact that the justice system does not always deliver justice, and that there is still a dire problem with sexism inherent in the legal process. This thriller is very well written. So well written that it left me feeling very uncomfortable. If that was the author's aim, then she succeeded. It was a thriller that emphasizes the psychological, and one that gives the reader an intense, though disturbing, reading experience. A chilling look at obsessive love.
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