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Thriller set in Nepal (and UK) (“A thousand miles away from normal…”)

6th June 2015

The Lie by C L Taylor, thriller set in Nepal.

IMG_0647A group of four friends from the UK – Emma, Leanne, Al and Daisy – for various reasons decide to head out on holiday together. Leanne is persuasive that she would like to fly to Nepal and trek up into the Annapurna Range via Kathmandu, through Pokhara and on to a “retreat” run by young people who have dropped out of mainstream society. Ekanta Yatra, set in a remote, mountainous area offers seclusion, solitude, meditation, yoga, massage… you name it.

Once ensconced, the four slot into the daily routine of life. There’s a bit of partying, drinking, swimming in the waterfall, detoxing, sexual healing and more, but life is not as harmonious as Isaac, a founder of the enclave, would have his guests believe. He espouses the idea of detaching from worldly goods and human bondage, and has devised rigorous procedures to encourage his visitors to do this. A gradual dawning opens Emma’s eyes to some of the damaging dynamics that flutter and flicker into her consciousness, fearful at times, reassured at others. But her unease begins to mount. As a reader you can’t help but be reminded of the group demise, which was so vibrantly portrayed in Alex Garland’s The Beach, set close to Ko Phi Phi, Thailand.

Nepal was 5 years ago. Interspersed throughout the narrative from then, and now, in the present day, Emma (calling herself Jane) is working in an animal rescue centre, having buried her past. That is until one day she is unsettled by messages that come through her phone and on social media.

The author deftly weaves the stories of the past and the present – often a challenging structure in fiction – and moves fluidly between the two time periods. Nepal seemed an unusual destination for this diverse group of young women to pick as their holiday location, but of course it was not an arbitrary choice.

The story really holds together well, and as things start to fall apart (no spoiler there, I imagine), there is perhaps a little too much focus on who was doing what with whom, new characters arriving, and for a short period the storyline lost its punchy focus. Overall? A recommended gripping read.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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