I received I Am Behind You in exchange for an honest review
This was a bizarre book. Simultaneously bleak, brutal and beautiful but, above all, weird. It won’t be for everyone, but I enjoyed how different it was.
We meet four families from vastly different backgrounds, from a footballer and his wife to a same sex couple of farmers, who gradually found solace in each other when they lost their wives. What the group has in common is that they’ve all got secrets, and they all wake up one day to discover all signs of life have disappeared from their campsite.
It’s not just the other campers that have gone. It’s the reception area, the toilet blocks, the stream, the trees, even the sun. The author gradually unveils the eerie atmosphere through his characters’ eyes capturing the sense of trapped isolation which comes from losing all signs of humanity. As far as the eye can see, there is only grass and fields, and a world with no sun is unsettlingly explored.
In a way, little happens; this tale actually feels very internal as each character deals with their own inner turmoils and has to face their fears. As the claustrophobic atmosphere intensifies, the characters begin to turn on eachother, but things get worse when they realise they’re not alone – there’s something darker out there, and it wants their blood.
The writing felt a little reminiscent of Stephen King – the author has a knack of getting under the skin of his characters, and creating a horror which reflects their individual fears. This book almost feels like a character study for the first half or so, as we follow each characters’ slow descent into madness. There’s some really strong, complex characters here and they kept me reading, including dog’s perspective, one of my personal favourites.
This book is difficult to describe – it’s one that it’s best you just experience for yourself, if you can handle a little oddness. The ending was somewhat bizarre and could be unsatisfying to some, but I felt it suited the tone of the novel.