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review 2018-08-02 20:47
Obsession and Distortion
Our Kind of Cruelty: A Novel - Araminta Hall

Araminta Hall takes the concept of an unreliable narrator to a whole new level in her latest novel, Our Kind of Cruelty.  Mike Hayes is, by all appearances, a successful man.  He has overcome a dismal childhood that forced him into the foster care system, and now is a wealthy and cosmopolitan man.  He narrates this story of his one true love and describes their connection as predestined. Mike is convinced that their marriage would be the inevitable culmination of a perfect life. The object of his undying affection is “V,” a woman he met in college who shares his affinity for a seduction game they call “the Crave.”  A business opportunity across the Atlantic has separated them for two years, followed by a falling out that led to their recent estrangement.  Mike returns from New York, determined to win V back with a new house and an opportunity for a fresh start.  Shortly after his arrival, he is shocked to receive an invitation to the wedding of his beloved and another man.  Still, he is convinced that V is just introducing another iteration of their game of “Crave.”  As the novel continues, Mike’s motivations, true character and disturbing past are revealed. The reader begins to question his level of delusion about his relationship with V, and wonders at what lengths he would go to maintain it.  Hall constructs a novel that teeters on the edge of violence, with a seeping feeling of dread. There were parts of the book that seemed a bit repetitive and overly graphic, and readers with a heightened sensitivity to sexual violence might find Our Kind of Cruelty a challenge. As a character study and experiment with perspective, it is a nice example of how unchecked desire can corrupt the truth.

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review 2018-07-01 22:22
Our Kind of Cruelty
Our Kind of Cruelty: A Novel - Araminta Hall
Mike was a twisted dude. I mean they both were twisted in the beginning and then later as I read, I was shaking my head for Mike just couldn’t seem to find reality. He was so confused that I began to wonder if perhaps I was the one confused. Dang, this novel was great!
 
Crave. It’s a game that Mike and V created, where an intense reuniting is the grand finale to this activity. It begins when V appears alone at the bar. They wait until a strange male approaches her. As this male begins to talk to her, to hit on her, the excitement begins. Mike rushes to the scene and he calls the man off. It’s a huge turn-on for both of them and they like to do this, a lot. I find it disturbing. I found as I read, that Mike seems too obsessed with V, whereas V likes Mike but not to the same degree that he likes her.
 
It’s decided that Mike would go to America to work for a few years, he’ll make more money there in a shorter amount of time. V will stay in London. When Mike returns to London, Mike tells V of his one-time affair. Well, that set V off and they ended up parting. Not long after that, V informs Mike that she is getting married. What?That didn’t take V long and now, I am starting to dislike V. Mike feels that V is still in love with him and that this is part of a secret Crave that she has created for him. He is so excited about this Crave, you can feel his anticipation and enthusiasm. I start to become obsessed with this novel as everything Mike sees and hears is about this new secret Crave, I mean everything! I am thinking, no Mike you are just a crazy, obsessed person. I begin to wonder what will happen when Mike realizes that she doesn’t like him anymore. Will he lose it? Will he walk away or go off? Mike starts to change his life for V but yet she is getting married to SOMEONE ELSE, hello Mike…. can’t you see what’s happening in front of you?
 
Mike starts to pass out from drinking and not remembering what happened. I can’t even begin to tell you where I thought this was headed. He starts to email her and his emails are off the wall. I’m wondering what V is thinking when she gets them. Then, when he finally confronts her face-to-face, I was like holding my breath because was this really happening? I was now totally confused but loving every minute of it. This was one twisted book.
 
Seriously, I loved this book! I couldn’t get enough of it. If you could see my copy, you would think I had it for years as it looks like, it has seen better days. I crunched it, it is water damaged from being around the pool, the covers do not lie down right, this book looks loved. If you like a dark, creepy, psycho thriller with some sex in it (not graphic sex) then, I highly recommend this novel. 4.5 stars
 
I won a copy of this novel from a Goodreads Giveaway – thank you Farrar, Straub and Giroux for the novel. This review is my own honest opinion.

 

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review 2018-06-29 09:04
OUR KIND OF CRUELTY review
Our Kind of Cruelty: A Novel - Araminta Hall

I'm pretty sure I spoil this book. Thing is, I'm not 100% sure I nailed the author's intention, so I'm not hiding it behind a spoiler tag. Just read at your own risk. If you've read the book, I'd love to discuss it with you in the comments below.

 

I'm going to try to review this book without naming the book I was thinking about the entire time I was reading this one. Suffice it to say, OUR KIND OF CRUELTY is, without a doubt, its own book, and the antagonist is far less likeable than He Who Shall Not Be Named.

 

Throughout the entirety of OUR KIND OF CRUELTY I felt like an ass for questioning a certain character's motives. Araminta Hall does a fantastic job of making the reader uncertain with regards to who to trust. Given the current political climate, and this world's history of treating women like animals, I didn't hesitate in considering that Verity could be as much at fault here as our unstable narrator. Gillian Flynn has made a career of writing about vile women, and I thought that's what I was reading here. It wasn't until the final pages (and the author's note at the end of the book) that I began to hate myself for ever questioning the author's intent.

 

OUR KIND OF CRUELTY deals with victim-blaming in a brutally-honest, realistic way, so much so that I was considering that the victim might have actually had something to do with the crime. It is a testament to how topical this book is that it made me take a closer look at myself, someone who would never consider blaming the victim in a situation like this, considering the possibility that the victim could be to blame. In this case, anyway. I'm so used to rooting for the bad guy in books like this that I never once considered the possibility that the bad guy was an unforgivable monster. He certainly was not relatable, or even likeable, but that was the author's intention. He's supposed to be a monster, from beginning to end, and the fact that I questioned his role says so much about the state of modern psychological thrillers.

 

We've grown to worship shitty human beings. We've come to romanticize bad men. This book takes a hard look at the victim, and asks you to see them, to believe them. Hall trusts you to make the right decision, and I almost didn't, because this isn't YOU, by Caroline Kepnes, and this crazy motherfucker is definitely not Joe Goldberg.

 

Fuck. I just failed, didn't I? Gahdameet!

 

In summation: OUR KIND OF CRUELTY will be compared to YOU until the end of days, but it truly does stand stunningly well on its own. Hall has created a puzzle that is only a puzzle because of where we are as a society. She turns a mirror on us, those who hero-worship characters like Joe Goldberg, and asks us to take a long hard look at ourselves. I, for one, didn't like what I saw, but that doesn't make me like Joe Goldberg any less. Odd how that works.

 

Final Judgment: Buy it for the amazing cover, read it for the brutally-honest social commentary.

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review 2018-05-22 19:33
Our Kind of Cruelty: A Novel - Araminta Hall

Wow, this guy Mike was definitely cray, cray. The whole book was about him and Verity (V). The author really only showed us things from his point of view. And, his point of view IMO delved way into the fantastical.

The author never tells you what V is thinking until she makes her statement at trial.

I've read reviews where people are blaming either V or Mike and why they they feel that why. Here's mine, for what it's worth.

I think Mike is pretty much delusional in his thoughts and V did not know how to handle him. Every time she told him that she loved someone else, he would dismiss it and carry on as if she had said nothing.

I think everyone is going to see something different in their regard to this question.

An interesting book that will be debated by everyone who reads it. It had me shaking my head many times and saying "unbelievable, how he sees things". I can only say, read it and see what you think.

Thanks to Farrar, Strous & Giroux and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2018-05-18 07:37
Our Kind of Cruelty: A Novel - Araminta Hall

Mike and Verity, or V as he calls her, are in love, or so he thinks. He’s not even shocked to discover she’s engaged to someone she met during his sojourn in America. It’s all part of the weird game they play and she’ll soon be back again, ready for the next episode. Intense or what! Neither of this pair have particularly likeable qualities it has to be said. Creepy Mike sees hidden messages or signs in everything to do with Verity and she is all he can focus on to the detriment of anything else. It was a great start as we get into Mike’s mindset, but there’s a bit too much repetition, especially in court when it’s all played out again. If only the epilogue was from Verity’s point of view, then there would have been some sort of ending, instead of just Mike, Mike, Mike. Loved the style of writing, the idea of this plus the reason why.

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