Thursday 26 May 2022

The Needle

Finished April 29
The Needle by Francis King

This is a short novel about the relationship between two siblings. Lorna, the eldest is a doctor, with the practice located on the lower level of her home. Her partner, Matty, is also a friend, and up until the return of Lorna's brother Bob from Kuala Lumpur three years earlier, had been a frequent visitor upstairs. Bob and Matty don't seem to like each other much, but they aren't overt about it. Lorna, a widow, also has a grown daughter, Edie who visits from time to time. 
Lorna and Bob grew up with a stepfather who entered the picture shortly after Bob was born. Lorna fondly remembers their father, who died of a sudden illness before Bob was born. Bob was a weak boy, fond of telling fanciful stories, until he was sent to boarding school. He returned more silent and shuttered. 
While he lives with Lorna, and supposedly makes a little money from short-lived acting roles, he doesn't share with her. She has no real idea what he does with his time, who his friends are, or much really about his life. He is in many ways as dependent on her as he was when they were young, but much more secretive about her life. 
As elements of his life begin to intrude on Lorna's life, she begins asking questions and learning more about him, learning about things that aren't that comfortable to know. As she learns of his actions, her reaction is also a surprise. 
An interesting, yet unsettling read. 

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