Genres: Psychological Thriller
Source: ARC, NetGalley
When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.
Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?
The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.
The Elizas is a story told by a quintessential ‘unreliable narrator’. You learn from the beginning that Eliza has had some issues. She claims that she can be cruel and a liar. But, she also claims that she wasn’t trying to commit suicide and that someone pushed her. As a reader, you have to sift through the words and decide: do you believe Eliza or not? Do you believe the people in her life or not? Can you parse out the truth from the deceptions?
The story alternates between Eliza’s present and excerpts from her soon to be released book, The Dots. Seriously, you will spend all your time trying to figure out what, if anything is real. At first, I kind of took things at face value. But, when you start to read the excerpts from The Dots, you really begin to question Eliza. Thrown in some strange characters to add to Eliza’s weirdness and you have a even more reasons to doubt. Then, I started doubting my doubts! I thought “Maybe she is throwing out red herrings…” There is also some threats of danger that add to the tension. IF something is real, then Eliza could be in danger. IF something isn’t real, then she is creating lots of trouble. But, you just aren’t sure…
In the end, I’m still not even sure what’s 100% real…I couldn’t stop thinking about this book. I didn’t LOVE it, but I simply could not stop thinking about it! The Elizas brings Shepard’s style of questionable narrators and motives to an adult character this time. Somehow, I Eliza being an adult made her even less trustworthy as a narrator. Teenagers are impulsive so its difficult to keep up a charade for extended lengths of time. But Eliza….I could see her being able to maintain the facade for years…
Classic unreliable narrators like Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Gone Girl by Jillian Flynn, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins…then you will probably like The Elizas!