The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble


*Many thanks to Alma Books for my copy of the book*

About the book:

The Maguire brothers each have their own driving, single-minded obsession. For Jonathan, it is his magnificent, talented, and desirable wife, Harriet. For Roger, it is the elaborate universe he has constructed in a shed in their parents’ garden, populated by millions of tiny insects. While Jonathan’s pursuit of Harriet leads him to feelings of jealousy and anguish, Roger’s immersion in the world he has created reveals a capability and talent which are absent from his everyday life.

Roger is known to all as a loving, protective, yet simple man, but the ever-growing complexity of the insect farm suggests that he is capable of far more than anyone believes. Following a series of strange and disturbing incidents, Jonathan begins to question every story he has ever been told about his brother–and if he has so completely misjudged Roger’s mind, what else might he have overlooked about his family, and himself?

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My thoughts:

I’ve had The Insect Farm on my TBR shelves for a year but I’ve just never gotten round to it. A couple of weeks ago I decided it was there long enough, and that I needed to get it read. 

I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up The Insect Farm, but what I read definitely wasn’t it! And not necessarily in a bad way either! Just in that kind of, what’s really going on here, way! 

I’m not going to dissect the plot, but I will say that the blurb above is not an accurate representation of what goes on in the book, in my opinion. While that is by no means a bad thing, in terms of pacing etc it left me starting off on the back foot a little. I had been expecting one kind of story and got another. 

The Insect Farm is most definitely a slow burner as regards any kind of thrilling element, but there is something and nothing happening all the time during the book. If I’m honest, the book didn’t pick up for me until maybe 2/3 of the way through, but from there on it definitely kept my attention. 

The titular insect farm almost became another character as it featured quite often. The dark, damp soil and mazes of tunnels were most definitely creepy to read about. If, like me, you don’t like bugs all too much, then this one will give you the shivers at times. However, the presence and almost hypnotic power of the insect farm and its effect on the characters is an interesting aside.

So, The Insect Farm. All is not what it seems with this one. Elements of the macabre, mixed with domestic noir make for a slightly more unusual take on a thriller. 

Recommended.

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