When her identical twin Laurel dies, seventeen-year-old Willow s life falls apart. With her parents marriage faltering, she finds escape at her uncle Joe s cottage. But even as they begin to know each other, Willow is plagued with memories of her sister. Then, Lucas arrives in her life troubled, angry and with a dangerous past.
Joe s cottage is idyllic, but the forest is filled with secrets. What is Joe hiding from her? What events have brought Lucas to her door? And who is the Slaughter Man who steals through Willow s sleep?
As the lines between dreams and reality become blurred, Willow s torment deepens. It seems as if her only escape lies with the Slaughter Man.
The Slaughter Man is an intense, beautifully written novel about grief, in this case the peculiar grief following the loss of part of you as Willow goes on a very personal and difficult journey after the death of her identical twin sister.
In fact The Slaughter Man is a novel of identity, of readjusting to a new reality and it is told through a dreamlike quality of prose and an emotionally resonant point of view. The Slaughter Man at the heart of the novel is a person both real and imagined, Willow silent in life, yet talking in other ways leads us down dark and difficult paths. Informed more and more by those around her, including Luca, a damaged soul, her Uncle who is struggling with demons of his own and, of course, the evocative Slaughter Man, slowly but surely Willow works out her pain.
The setting is melancholy and gorgeous, the realities insightful, The Slaughter Man is a very personal, very human tale and I fell into it, a literary gem that holds you in its quirky, heartfelt grip from first page to last.