Updated: Aug 17, 2021
Nightshift by Kiare Ladner
When twenty-three-year-old Meggie meets the distant and enigmatic Sabine, she recognizes in her the person she would like to be. Giving up her daytime existence, her reliable boyfriend, and the trappings of a normal life in favour of working the same nightshifts as Sabine could be the perfect escape for Meggie. She finds a liberating sense of freedom in indulging her growing preoccupation with Sabine and plunges herself into another existence, gradually immersing herself in the transient and uncertain world of the nightshift worker. Dark, sexy and frightening, Nightshift explores ambivalent female friendship, sexual attraction and lives that defy easy categorization. London’s stark urban reality is rendered other-worldly and strange as Meggie’s sleep deprivation, drinking and fixation with Sabine gain a momentum all of their own. Can Meggie really lose herself in her trying to become someone else? A novel of obsession and desire, Kiare Ladner’s beautiful and moving debut asks profound questions about who we are and if we can ever really truly escape ourselves.
It's going to be no surprise why I chose this one to review. The cover is absolutely staggeringly stand-out and as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to read it. It does what it’s meant to and draws you in.
Kiare Ladner’s bio says that as a child she wanted to live on a farm, run an orphanage and be on stage. As an adult, she found herself working for academics, with prisoners and on nightshifts. Her short stories have been published in South Africa, where she grew up, and the UK, where she lives now.
The hook draws you in within seconds. The two main characters are extensively flawed but you cannot help but love them for it. The relationship between them breaks the boundaries crossing over between sexual, fascination and friendship. It’s very tense and you really feel as though you are on a journey. But you completely understand it and love them for it even more so.
My favourite paragraph in the book by far was this: -
‘Although he’d spoken apologetically, as I strode from stupid up-its-own-arse Mayfair, tears squished out of my eyes. Brushing them away with my fists, I spelled everything I saw backwards. I walked quickly but aimlessly until I found myself spelling latipsoh. I went in and got a ticket at noitpecer.’
It’s the Author’s abundance of character building and detail that makes this book stand out.
There are some points when you feel that the relationship between Meggie and Sabine is too terribly toxic that they may never survive it but as I reached the end, I really didn’t want the novel to come to an end.
A definite highlight book so far this year.
You can buy a copy on the following link:
Review dated: 02.03.21