Book review: Mr Splitfoot

IN THE 1970s, an orphaned boy and girl called Nat and Ruth develop an unusual bond to survive the agonies of being raised by a religious cult — and the pair harness Nat’s apparent ability to channel the dead as a means of escape.

Decades later, Ruth appears at her pregnant niece Cora’s house, mysteriously mute, and the pair set off on a bizarre pilgrimage across New York State.

In her third novel, US author Samantha Hunt deftly twists these two stories around each other, interspersing a third-person chapter from ‘the past’ with Cora’s first-person narration of her travels, to underline the parallels between the superficially separate narratives.

There are plenty of potential spine tingles to this modern gothic tale. What silenced the badly scarred Ruth? Is Nat a fraud or a real medium? And does a meteor hold the answers?

Sadly, Hunt’s slow-burning style scuppers her attempts at Wilkie Collins-esque thrills and the modern sections drag.

Mr Splitfoot

Samantha Hunt

Corsair, €22.30


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