Title: Beautiful Animals
Author: Lawrence Osborne
Publisher: Hogarth, July 2017
Summary/Review: The novel, Beautiful Animals, takes place on the Greek island of Hydra, where two young women strike up a friendship while vacationing with their families for the summer. Naomi Codrington is the daughter of a wealthy British art dealer. Sam Haldane is a few years younger, and also rich, but to a lesser degree. Both girls are bored.
Both girls are bored. Then they discover a Syrian refugee, Faoud, washed up on a deserted beach and Naomi is determined to make the young man their summer project and help him find a new life in Italy. To raise money for Faoud, Naomi proposes to facilitate his burglary of her own family’s villa.
For the reader, the scheme is suspect and we wonder instead if this is Naomi’s attempt to strike back at her father and step mother. (Several observations throughout the book suggest that Naomi is a cold calculator-pulling strings for her own amusement.) The plan goes horribly wrong. And the dread of what will happen next begins to build.
As one reviewer said, “the novel exerts a sickening pull.” Its’ climax and resolution may not surprise you, but it may have you wishing for more justice.
Who will like this book: For those who enjoy their fiction a little on the dark and sinister side.
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Recommended by: Susan Z., Reference