“The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

This book was Turton’s 2018 debut novel. (His second novel was recently released.) I had trouble pushing through this book. TOO MUCH PLOT. Too many characters. Too fast a pace. Little time to “get to know” even the primary characters.

I’m always a bit put off by fiction that comes accompanied by a map and list of characters. Do really good authors need these aids? How often should I need to consult them? And what about characters not included on the list… (I make an exception for historical fiction, where dynastic charting is often useful.) 

Is there a genre name for fiction that includes dim figures in the background pulling strings? Not “deus in machina”, the “god” that steps in at the end to accomplish resolution. No, a slowly revealed and perhaps permanently hidden figure pulling the strings. 

I’m reminded of John Fowles The Magus, described on Amazon as “an elaborate series of staged hallucinations, riddles, and psychological traps”.

I’m not your ideal reader for fantasy fiction. I’m literal minded, perhaps to an extreme. My opinion about this novel may be an outlier.

So what about Turton’s book? I recommend it if you want something to keep yourself entertained on a long train trip. You have to enjoy uncertainty. I found the ending unsatisfying. 


3 thoughts on ““The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton

  1. I, too am literal minded, Alice. Good to “hear” your voice. Hoping your holidays were peaceful and safe. This was the first time Bob and I have spent Christmas alone. Virtual gift-opening with the grandchildren gave us at least a little of that blessed holiday chaos. We have just about finished the way-too-much holiday food we bought and prepared. Here’s to a brighter New Year. Sandy

  2. I am also having trouble with the book. I am taking a break from it, but I will go back to it in a few days.

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