Toplin is weird. I enjoyed it, a lot, in fact-but I'll be damned if I can put my finger on why.
Part of the reason, for sure, is because it's different. Yes, there is an unreliable narrator but he's so far away from the usual unreliable narrator, they're not even in the same ball park. There is a sense I had while reading of being off balance, of not quite "getting it"; I'm sure it was done on purpose and I enjoyed that feeling. There was also a terrible sense of bleakness and isolation-they were both almost suffocating, yet I couldn't tear myself away.
After having read this, I think I know why there isn't a lot written about this story. It's hard to get across how it made me feel and why I liked it. It's certainly not for everyone and it's not your average, every day horror story either. In a way, I question whether it's even a horror story at all. It's certainly horrific at times, but is that enough to make it "horror"? I often felt bad for a lot of the characters and then I wondered if I was supposed to feel bad for them? Am I supposed to be ashamed of or for them? Should I feel afraid of them or do I pity them? Is this guy mentally ill or is he a fucking psycho? Or both?
If anything, this book makes you come to terms with how YOU are feeling and if you're comfortable feeling it. And that right there-a book that makes you examine yourself and your feelings, usually rates pretty high in MY book, and this one is no exception.
*I received an ecopy of Toplin from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is it.*