Tracey T, Reviewer
Last updated on 05 Mar 2023
Something about the shiny surface of theme parks makes me deeply suspicious. I love theme park lore about how things cynically “never go wrong” at these seemingly magical places. Arianna Reiche captures this sense of unease perfectly in her debut novel, At the End of Every Day.
Delphi works at such a theme park, only referred to as “The Park”. Unfortunately, a celebrity died after a large-scale launch of a new ride, and The Park’s fortunes have tanked so badly that The Park is closing for good. Delphi and her boyfriend play a big part in this operation, but as the park’s final day approaches, Delphi begins to experience strange things. But Delphi is also harboring a secret, a childhood injury that forces her to constantly wear gloves.
Interspersed with strange letters between an apparently estranged pair of siblings, speaking about cults, AI bots, and escalating disasters in California. No spoilers, but when these two narratives come together, it is incredibly effective.
The descriptions of underground tunnels and strange rooms successfully create a great sense of unease in the reader. The whole novel is deeply unsettling and disorienting, which reflects the askew plot perfectly. Do we have an unreliable narrator; is this all in Delphi’s head? There are lots of threads in this novel, but the patient, attentive reader will be rewarded.
Fans of the uncanny will love At the End of Every Day, as will fans of dark theme park lore. A fantastic debut, and one that will stay with me long after the gates close.
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