In this section:
Martine McDonagh writes with a cool, clear confidence about a world brought to its knees. Her protagonist, a woman living alone but battling on into the future, is utterly believable, as are her observations of the sodden landscape she finds herself inhabiting. This book certainly got under my skin – if you like your books dark and more than a little disturbing this is one for you.
A story of survival and obsession in a world brought to its knees.
When Jez White disturbs Rachel’s solitary existence she finds herself being drawn into a murky territory somewhere between stalking and being stalked. This powerful novel is by turns sensual and sinister, and conjures up an all-too-believable near future – of isolated communities, wild weather and strange allegiances.
The most disturbing utopias are those which feels closest to hand; and McDonagh indicates how swiftly society reverts to tooth and claw primitivism...Fans of post-apocalyptic parables will be well pleased.
Chillingly believable...Sinister, scary and utterly compelling, it is hard to believe that this strong, confident writing comes from a debut novelist. Read it if you dare.
It paints an all-too-convincing picture of life in the rural Midlands in the middle of this century – cold and stormy, with most modern conveniences long-since gone, and with small, mainly self-sufficient, communities struggling to maintain a degree of social order. It is very atmospheric and certainly leaves an indelible imprint on the psyche.
An exquisitely crafted début novel set in a post-apocalyptic landscape...I'm rationing myself to five pages per day in order to make it last.
A decidedly original tale...Psychologically sophisticated, it demands our attention. Ignore it, O Philistines, at your peril.
Deeply atmospheric and darkly original, it explores the impact of loneliness and loss on the psyche in extreme conditions, and the terrible toll it can take.
This is a troubling, beautifully composed novel, rich in its brevity and complex in the psychlogical portrait it paints.
Dehumanized and primitive, the world according to this book is material for blurry nightmares, an insidious scary film or accurate lessons in futurology. Martine McDonagh has worked in the rock industry for a long time and her writing still works to this tempo, to these dynamics - physical, sensual and nerve-wracking.
The dank post-apocalyptic atmosphere of Martine McDonagh's first novel perfectly suits her tale of obsessive love lost amongst civilization's ruins. The writing touches subconscious strata; the mystery unfolds hypnotically; the reader is drawn into a parallel universe all too frighteningly real.
A story of sexual obsession and broken trust, with the sodden (and wonderfully rendered) landscape a constant, literally atmospheric presence.
This novel manages to combine the nightmare of a post environmental apocalypse with a psychological thriller... McDonagh’s novel is a fine example of the spec fiction genre, the changed world she has created seems eerily real.
The novel is both poignant and terrifying. The world created here is so vivid and real, it would be hard not to be moved by it.
I have waited, and you have come takes its dystopian near-future setting and uses it to build a derelict world of bleak isolation. The dreamlike first-person narrative reinforces this with vivid descriptions of the mouldering landscape of a post-civilization Britain. This is Martine McDonagh's first novel, making the power of her simple prose all the more impressive. She has crafted a taut, creepy portrait of a woman whose already fragile mental state is pushed to breaking point by a series of threats which may be real or only imagined. Rachel is a fascinating study in the effects of isolation and paranoia.
Told with passion and real skill I have waited, and you have come is a disturbing but rewarding read that makes a virtue of brevity and a narrow focus.
I’m still thinking about this book days after I finished reading it. The science fiction element was the initial hook that drew me in but there is so much more to consider – the nature of obsessive behaviour, how differing perspectives can offer completely different interpretations of the same event. This is a thought-provoking novel that is deceptively chilling.
Rachel's narrative voice is largely focused on process and physical detail, which works well for the book in a number of ways. It brings to life the grey dampness of the landscape, and its uncertainty – familiar place names and institutions, but no longer as tightly bound into a society. It also makes it harder to anticipate Rachel’s ultimate intention, leading to an effectively understated ending.
McDonagh has cleverly created a tale of isolation and survival while ramping up the menace caused by the weather, the unknown watcher and the sinister A Handmaid’s Tale type community trying to persuade Rachel to live with them. Rachel is a survivor, but she has a vulnerability which makes her plausible.
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Read an interview with Martine on the Post-Apocalyptic Book Club website.
'The Worst of All Worlds': Martine McDonagh's article on dystopian fiction for Writing Magazine.