Title: The Last House on Needless Street
Author: Catriona Ward
Publication Date: 18th March 2021
This is the story of a murderer. A stolen child. Revenge. This is the story of Ted, who lives with his daughter Lauren and his cat Olivia in an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.
All these things are true. And yet some of them are lies.
You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, something lies buried. But it’s not what you think…
I actually finished The Last House on Needless Street a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been trying to figure out how to do it justice in a review, whilst being very careful not to give anything away about the the plot intricacies, ever since. It is a truly original book with a style all its own. The story follows Ted, an odd (to put it mildly) man living beside a forest on the fabulously named Needless Street. He lives with his daughter and his cat, both of whom take turns at narrating this strange and unsettling tale.
I really don’t want to talk about the plot at all because it is the sort of book which takes its reader on a journey and I think it is best to go into it without any knowledge of what is to come. However, I can absolutely try and get across my feelings and thoughts on this wild and powerful read. Firstly, the atmosphere is outstanding. There is a quietly sinister feeling from the very start which creeps into the consciousness of the reader and doesn’t let up. It is frightening in a sense but I actually think it’s more subtle than that – it is spooky without being overtly scary. The writing is brilliant and has a very unique style. It is also incredibly visceral – the imagery and language provoke the senses in a way that burrow into the reader’s mind, especially the sense of smell. What I think is so impressive about The Last House on Needless Street is that it is horrifying whilst also managing to feel almost tender at the same time. Somehow these two opposing forces don’t fight against each other at all but meld together in a bizarre and remarkably poignant manner. For me, the thing that has made this book really stick in my mind is that reading it was a weirdly physical experience. I was totally exhausted after finishing it which felt very strange. It completely consumed me for the entire time I was reading it and that doesn’t happen every day. The Last House on Needless Street has to be one of THE books of 2021 because of the way it seems to provoke a strong reaction in everyone who reads it. It is beautifully and intelligently written, carefully researched and a genre-bending tour de force which eludes description and categorisation. Highly recommended.
I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.