You know that feeling when you are on the uphill part of a roller coaster? There is that tick, tick, tick, of the car, your heart beats a bit faster as you look down, the seat belt starts to strain as you test just how tight you set it, you try to remember to look out and see the surrounding city, but it’s hard to peel your eyes from the pinnacle……now imagine all that tension and that you can see your parents tied to the tracks ahead and the knowledge that you have to choose one, just one to save. You have to choose just one, mom or dad. That’s The Farm. The tension in The Farm just builds and builds and like a dog with a bone, it just won’t let go of you once you pick it up.
If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son.
Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden. But with a single phone call, everything changes.
Your mother…she’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things – terrible, terrible things. She’s had a psychotic breakdown, and been committed to a mental hospital.
Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad… I need the police… Meet me at Heathrow.
That’s how it starts for Daniel. His parents retired to Sweden last year and because he has never opened up to them about your sexuality, he has pretty much avoided making a visit because that would mean introducing them to Mark, his boyfriend.
So Daniel picks his mom up at Heathrow and she starts to tell him, from the beginning, what has happened. You think you know your parents, like Mark does, until you are thrown into a crisis and realize that you really don’t know them at all. That feeling that you know them is even stronger than the feeling you might have with your spouse and yet is based on childhood memories and the false faces that our parents show us.
As Daniel listens to his mother, he is constantly forced to take sides; his dad or his mom. One minute, he believes that his dad is right and he deals with his mother calmly like you would a nut. Then he sees her side and even though he doesn’t want to believe it, his dad suddenly looks like the bad guy. It’s the ultimate moment in time when you have to start being an adult and find that you have to now parent, your parents. (A theme that many of us have or will face.)
Now, I’ve read Smith’s earlier trilogy, Child 44 and it was good, but this is better. Not only has he become a better, tighter writer, but he has taken on a situation that most of us can picture ourselves; maybe not as extreme as poor Daniel, but it’s still the stuff that can keep you up at night just like this book did to me.
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (June 3, 2014)
- ISBN-10: 0446550736
- ISBN-13: 978-0446550734
I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.