New Release Book Review: This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan

This Is How It Ends…

About the Book:

This is how it begins.

With a near-empty building, the inhabitants forced out of their homes by property developers.

With two women: idealistic, impassioned blogger Ella and seasoned campaigner, Molly.

With a body hidden in a lift shaft.

But how will it end?

 

9781408886649

 

My Thoughts:

This Is How It Ends is top shelf thriller. The gritty forgotten parts of London are exposed in this story about corruption, activism, police brutality, bullying, misogyny, and gentrification. It’s a sophisticated thriller like few are, topical in its chosen issues and sharply tense in its grim delivery. The characters are raw and real, the setting authentically atmospheric – right down to the last rat!

Ella is an activist with a huge social media presence. On the surface she seethes with anger about the gentrification of London; inner city corporate real estate corruption that sees offshore investors buying up property for tax evasion, driving up prices beyond local affordability and forcing existing residents out of their homes and out of their neighbourhoods. It’s a serious issue and Eva Dolan presents a thorough view on the ins and outs of it within the narrative quite early on, so you know exactly what’s happening from the get go. But Ella is a fake. At least, that was my impression early on. She talks the talk and sometimes walks the walk, but there are other things simmering beneath the surface with Ella; she’s definitely not who she makes out to be and uncovering her story sucked me in like few have before.

Molly is an activist from way back. Presently in her 60s, her last fight is the one for her home. She has formed a bond with Ella, despite her closest comrades distrust of the young woman. I became rather invested in Molly’s story, that of a lonely old woman in dire financial straights, hanging onto her glory days while grooming Ella into her protégé. Or so she thought. Because when a body comes between them, Molly begins to realise that Ella is a liar and a fake, the depths of which she can hardly imagine until she can no longer avoid confronting the devastating truth.

Who is the body? What is Ella’s real story? Why is Ella so filled with rage? These questions kept me turning the pages at a rapid pace late into the night. The story begins with the body and from this point on, it unfolds in two directions. Forwards, in the present day, with Molly; and backwards, with Ella, visiting key events in her history in reverse, all geared towards finally enlightening us to her full story. Towards the end of the novel, when you think you know everything, we come back to Ella in the present day alongside Molly in the present day, for the remainder of the story. But of course, you still don’t know everything. There are more revelations to come and an ending that leaves you feeling wounded, yet oddly satisfied as well. This manner of storytelling was sensational, utterly absorbing. I never knew anything unless the author wanted me to, and in a thriller, a genre that is often at risk of producing plots and characters that we’ve all seen before, it was a literary style device well utilised and executed with perfection. I’m keen to read more from Eva Dolan, she’s quite a force to be reckoned with.

There’s plenty to mull over in this novel and plenty to feel your blood boil over as well. Ultimately, no matter what my thoughts about Ella eventuated into, there can be no doubts as to the origin of her anger and it’s justification. We have come so far, yet we still have such a long way to go.

 

Thanks is extended to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a copy of This Is How It Ends for review.

This Is How It Ends is published by Raven Books, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing.

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