Review: Rich and Complicated Survival Horror: The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

“Starling has written a tightly-focused novel, part psychological thriller, part deep character study. Starling keeps the reader closely focused on Gyre, whose viewpoint is the only one we see (and whose name recalls the line from W.B. Yeats’ “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”—turning and turning in the widening gyre/ the falcon cannot hear the falconer). We see Em through Gyre, and through her actions. The arc of their relationship is one that bends from antagonistic distrust and manipulation to intimacy and honesty, but the narrative never forgets that Gyre’s sympathy for Em may be more of a consequence of Gyre’s isolation and Em’s role as her one connection to the outside world as much as anything else.”

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