cover image Magpie


Elizabeth Day. Simon & Schuster, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-982187-60-6

Day’s clever latest (after The Party) delves into the shaky life of a pregnant woman who is further disrupted once a lodger moves into her home. Having survived a rough childhood and sexual assault, Marisa finally finds peace when she moves in with her boyfriend, Jake. But she’s only known him for three months, and there’s a red flag: his frosty mother, Annabelle, constantly dotes on him and touts their closeness while making clear her dislike for Marisa. Still, Marisa relishes the feeling of safety Jake gives her and chooses not to rock the boat. When money gets tight, the couple agree to lease a room in their house to Kate, who immediately makes herself at home and acts very familiar and affectionate with Jake. Marisa begins to suspect that Jake and Kate are having an affair, possibly with Annabelle’s blessing. Day successfully turns the narrative on its head in the second half, which tells the whole story very differently from Kate’s point of view. She also cannily subverts a few tired tropes to create a convincing final act, with a twist rooted in clues that were there all along. Readers will thoroughly enjoy this. (May)