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The Farm Hardcover – June 3, 2014
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2014: The Farm is the sum of its parts: a psychological thriller written with the intricate plotting and pacing of a spy novelist. Tom Rob Smith, best known for the Cold War-era series Child 44, steps out of his comfort zone to deliver a he-said she-said mystery that rivals the delicate balancing act of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Daniel visits his parents, only to discover that his mother and father no longer trust each other. In fact, something so sinister may be at play that his entire life could be a lie. You'll go back and forth between believing and doubting the mother’s conspiracies about a girl who goes missing in a small Swedish town. Smith cleverly places the burden of the narrative on Daniel’s interior dilemma--the guilt of choosing one parent over the other and his unwillingness to let go of the parents he once thought he understood. I won't give anything away, but the truth turns out to be both a satisfying resolution of plot and an emotionally crushing finale. --Kevin Nguyen
"From the very first page, The Farm has all the trappings of a thriller with a deep, dark conspiracy at its heart, but Smith isn't content to stick to formulas. Through a first-person narrative that allows us to view this drama through Daniel's always engaging eyes, he weaves in and out of secrets and truths, sins and redemptions, crafting a thriller that weaves a satisfyingly juicy web of deception and is also an unpredictable page-turner. It's a rare thing to see an author so completely embody the trappings of his genre and also surprise the reader, but Smith achieves it with The Farm. Child 44 fans as well as those looking to get lost in an immersive thriller will find this a gripping read."―BookPage - One of the Ten Best Mysteries and Thrillers 2014
"[A] superior psychological thriller...Smith keeps the reader guessing up to the powerfully effective resolution that's refreshingly devoid of contrivances."―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) - One of the Top Ten Thrillers of 2014
"This is easily the novel I talked about the most this year and most adamantly pressed into other people's hands. British author Tom Rob Smith is a thriller writer, but of the literary, fiercely smart variety...Smith spins a novel of doubt and secrets set in a bleak yet beautiful Swedish landscape."―Shannon Rhoades, Morning Edition - Selected as one of NPR's 2014 Great Reads
"Smith does an expert job of putting readers into the narrator's uncomfortable shoes."―New York Post
"Tom Rob Smith breathes new life into the landscape, transcending the traditional crime fiction genre with an intricately-knitted thriller steeped in mythology...[Smith] demonstrates the same craftsmanship that saw his highly-acclaimed novel Child 44 claim the Galaxy Book Award for Best New Writer and [be] long-listed for the Manbooker Prize, among its many plaudits. Meticulously weaving together literary themes of revenge and madness...this latest offering is a tapestry of fairytales old and new; so unsettling and oppressive that it blurs the distinctions between sanity and madness, reality and fantasy, leaving the reader guessing until the bitter end."―The Independent (UK)
"The Farm sustains its high dramatic pitch from London to Sweden and back through an immersive and tough-to-predict series of revelations about falsehoods and fantasies."―The Philadelphia Inquirer
"This is a neatly plotted book full of stories within stories, which gradually unravel to confound our expectations...Smith's twisting, turning novel shows that Scandi crime also retains the ability to surprise and thrill."―The Guardian (UK) - One of The Best Crime and Thrillers of 2014
"Tom Rob Smith's The Farm is an absorbing, unsettling, multilayered novel...The Farm is beautifully crafted, its effect enhanced by the author's admission that his own family faced a similar experience."―The Times (UK)
"'Impossible to put down' has become as overused a thing to say about books as the one saying that the people writing them should stick with what they know. In the case of The Farm, it is close to true (I read it in about three sittings and real life felt like an impertinent interruption whenever I had to put it down). Child 44 was one of those rare books that managed to thrill both the Booker judges and the Richard and Judy brigade. The Farm is, perhaps, even better. It is so good, in fact, that you will finish it quickly and then be jealous of anyone who hasn't read it yet."―The Independent (UK)
"A cast-iron premise and a breathtaking opening... Smith has constructed a canny and enthralling story, one that veers off in unexpected ways to complicate and deepen his carefully timed plot. Throughout, he keeps us off-kilter at every turn."―The Seattle Times
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The saddest part is that neither the mother Tilde nor her semi-closeted gay son are even remotely sympathetic characters in my opinion. And why this element of the son's sexuality was even introduced to the story line baffles me; he is only incidentally gay and, besides the fact that his supremely tolerant boyfriend foots most of the expenses incurred in his various quests, there is nothing that even connotes a need for this aspect of his character.
The ending seems rushes when compared to the interminably drawn out bulk of the initial story, and the story abruptly closes leaving me with an apethetic, "So what?"
Tilde in the book and his mother are two very different people with different histories, and the Tilde of his creation has had a far different history as much as Daniel, the narrator/protagonist, is far different from Tom Rob Smith. He had to set up a deceit for Daniel, providing him with a motivation for keeping secrets from his parents. One thing that I also remember his saying, it takes him about two years to write a book. His earlier trilogy required much research, and this one, much soul searching. It made me almost feel guilty for only taking a few days to read it, sometimes, reading a book in a day that someone has labored over for years.