Favorite Books of the 2010s: Foe by Iain Reid

This is a series of reviews of my favorite books published between 2010 and 2019.


Foe by Iain Reid (2018)

Foe has a claustrophobic setting, an old farmhouse out in the middle of unending canola fields, and it has only three primary characters: Junior, the narrator; his wife, Hen; and a visitor, Terrance. Terrance shows up unexpectedly to tell Junior that he has been chosen by lottery for the long list of people who might go live on a space station for a couple of years, leaving his wife behind. This visit reveals some tensions in the marriage, at least on Hen’s part, and this largely is what the novel is about: marriage, our expectations of and assumptions about each other as married people, our needs for ourselves to live fulfilling lives. The suspense is a slow burn, gradually thickening, until Terrance returns. There are twists, but they aren’t the point of the novel either. This domestic tale with a sci-fi context feels nail-bitingly creepy.

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