Shining Girls Explained

Written by Lauren Beukes, Shining Girls is an exciting and captivating novel that seamlessly blends crime, suspense and sci-fi genres into one unforgettable story. The novel centers on Harper Curtis, a ruthless serial killer who is inexplicably able to travel back in time to find and murder “bright girls,” young women of great potential and promising prospects.


The novel is set in both the 1930s and 1990s, with the story jumping back and forth between the two periods. Beukes masterfully weaves the two eras together, delivering rich, vivid detail that allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in each setting. The 1930s are portrayed with all the glitz and glamor of the era, while the 1990s are portrayed as a time of social and political upheaval.


One of the most impressive aspects of The Shining Girls is the attention to detail Beukes puts into creating each of the characters. Each bright girl is unique, with their own distinct personalities and quirks, and the reader is drawn into their lives and experiences. Kirby Mazrachi, the main character who survives Harper’s attack and is determined to track him down, is a particularly well-developed and compelling character. Her determination and courage make her a force to be reckoned with, and her backstory is just as compelling as the main plot.


Another strength of the novel is the way Beukes approaches the themes of power and agency. Bright Girls are all women with potential and ambition, but are often held back by societal pressures and the expectations of others. Harper, on the other hand, is a man who feels powerless and tries to take back control by exercising his dominance over the brilliant girls. The novel’s exploration of power dynamics is thought-provoking and timely, which adds depth to the story.


A potential weakness of the novel is its time travel aspect. While it’s a unique and interesting twist, it can be confusing at times, especially when the story jumps from one period to the next. Some readers may find the ending unsatisfying or overly complicated. However, these issues are relatively minor and do not detract from the overall strength of the story.


Overall, Shining Girls is a compelling and masterfully crafted novel that will keep readers in suspense. Beukes seamlessly blends genres, creating a story that is both exciting and thought-provoking. The characters are well developed, the themes are timely and the attention to detail is impressive. While it may not be for everyone, Shining Girls is a must-read for those who enjoy detective stories, thrillers, or sci-fi.

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