It's Not Going to Kill You and Other Stories.
Booklist Reviews 2013 September #1
Much like the unreliable narrator of S. J. Watson's Before I Go to Sleep (2011), to which this debut novel bears a strong resemblance, the narrator of Chapman's clever chiller, which is set in an unnamed Scandinavian country, seems uncertain of her own history and circumstances. Marta stopped taking her medication after her son left home and is being visited by a series of images—or are they repressed memories?—of a young girl, always hungry and dressed in ill-fitting, increasingly filthy pajamas, who is confined to a small room. Marta's husband, Hector, 20 years her senior, tells a romantic story of their first meeting, but Marta is beginning to suspect that the stories Hector tells are fabrications. The one constant is her referencing of the marriage manual How to Be a Good Wife, whose pithy maxims ("Let your husband take care of the finances. Make it your job to be pretty") read like the diary of a mad housewife. Although some may find the ambiguous ending frustrating, others will be drawn into this claustrophobic examination of the meaning of marriage. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2013 May #2
Good wife Marta has been married for so long that she can hardly remember a past without Hector. But now strange visions flit at the corner of her eye, including that of a blonde girl no one else can see. Is she losing her mind or starting to remember something important? Look for promotion at BookExpo America (BEA).[Page 51]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2013 August #4
In Chapman's chilling debut, it's immediately clear that Marta Bjornstad is uncomfortable in her empty nest, with her son Kylan living in the city and her husband Hector more distant than ever before. Cracks begin to appear in Marta's formerly comfortable life: she discovers cigarettes in her purse and enjoys smoking them, though she has never smoked before. She yearns to travel, although for the past 20 years her life has been circumscribed by the mountains on either side of the small valley in the unnamed Scandinavian country in which she and Hector live. She stops taking her medication and begins to question some of the things she'd previously taken for granted—for instance, Hector's insistence that she take her medicine (he even placed the pills on her tongue). She also begins to see a girl in dirty pajamas, who seems to need her help. And her outright hostility to Kylan's new fiancée only widens the cracks, alienating the person she loves the most. As she examines more closely what's beneath her family's habits and some of her own memories, she becomes certain that she has uncovered a terrible dark truth that—if she reveals it—will tear their lives apart. Despite a far-fetched conclusion, Chapman excels at creating tension and suspense. (Oct.)[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC