An eerie debut suspense novel that explores how little one man may know his own brother--and his own mind.
The Maguire brothers each have their own driving, single-minded obsession. For Jonathan, it is his magnificent, talented, and desirable wife, Harriet. For Roger, it is the elaborate universe he has constructed in a shed in their parents' garden, populated by millions of tiny insects. While Jonathan's pursuit of Harriet leads him to feelings of jealousy and anguish, Roger's immersion in the world he has created reveals a capability and talent which are absent from his everyday life.
Roger is known to all as a loving, protective, yet simple man, but the ever-growing complexity of the insect farm suggests that he is capable of far more than anyone believes. Following a series of strange and disturbing incidents, Jonathan begins to question every story he has ever been told about his brother--and if he has so completely misjudged Roger's mind, what else might he have overlooked about his family, and himself?
The Insect Farm is a dramatic psychological thriller about the secrets we keep from those we love most, and the extent to which the people closest to us are also the most unknowable. In his astounding debut, Stuart Prebble guides us through haunting twists and jolting discoveries as a startling picture emerges: One of the Maguire brothers is a killer, and the other has no idea.
Prebble, the CEO of the U.K. television network ITV, makes his U.S. debut with a creepy and effective modern gothic. Unprepossessing Englishman Jonathan Macguire has a mentally handicapped older brother, Roger, whose great obsession in life is his "insect farm" an enormous living collection of bugs that he grows and feeds in various troughs, jars, and buckets in a garden shed. Jonathan is also deeply in love with his musically talented and pretty girlfriend, Harriet, and struggles with jealousy when another musician develops a crush on her. While Jonathan is away at school in Newcastle, his parents die in a fire, with Roger safe working at his insect farm. Jonathan returns home to care for his brother and is soon drawn into Roger's strange world. When calamity strikes, the insect farm seems a perfect solution for each brother's problems. Prebble maintains a consistent aura of dread throughout, but overwriting bogs down a tale that would probably have worked better at short story length.