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The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
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The Shining Girls

by Lauren Beukes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,4101195,365 (3.55)138
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» See also 138 mentions

English (117)  Dutch (2)  All (119)
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
What a great ride! Excellent story. ( )
  boogirl13 | May 23, 2017 |
In Chicago, a serial killer hunts through time, targeting girls from “shining girls” from different eras. Then one of his victims survives.

The Shining Girls was oddly forgettable. After reading Beukes nonfiction essay “All the Pretty Corpses,” I decided I had to read The Shining Girls. The essay burns with anger at the way media treats female murder victims as pretty dead things, not people whose lives have been cut short. In it, Beukes says she wrote The Shining Girls to be as much about the victims as the killer. Unfortunately, I found it not nearly as powerful or subversive as I think Beukes intended.

The Shining Girls is told from many different POVs, with the two most prominent being the killer, Harper, and the survivor, Kirby. Other sections contain points of view from Harper’s other victims, giving the reader a glimpse into the lives of the women Harper kills. Additionally, Dan, Kirby’s mentor at the Chicago Sun-Times, has reoccurring chapters.

But even as The Shining Girls brings in chapters from the victims perspectives, it still ends up feeling like that same story we are all familiar with, the focus being on a male serial killer brutally murdering women. While the plot of the story is nominally Kirby bringing Harper to justice, she lacks agency, driven by the plot instead of driving it. I’m not sure what effect if any her actions during the first 75% of the book have. She could have disappeared from the majority of the story, and the result would have been the same.

I also question the decision to make Kirby the survivor. All of Harper’s victims are women existing within our sexist society, but there are intersections within the category “women.” The women who die are black, Asian, gay, and trans. The woman who lives is straight, white and cis. This pattern is entirely predictable and plays into problematic trends about who gets to be a heroine.

On the bright side, the pacing is appropriately fast for a thriller. I ended up reading the entirety of The Shining Girls in one day. Beukes also has a gift for describing the historical settings and how Chicago changes through the decades. It’s clear that a lot of research went into this area.

However, The Shining Girls is not a book I will ever reread. The time traveling feels like a plot gimmick, the romance is completely unnecessary, and the story is not nearly as subversive as it thinks it is. At this point, I’ve tried two of Lauren Beukes books and a collection of her short stories. None really impressed me, and I don’t think I’ll be seeking out any of her work.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | May 10, 2017 |
its very violent ( )
  Deborahrs | Apr 15, 2017 |
Harper is a serial killer with a difference, he can travel through time. Kirby is one of his victims who survives. Kirby is determined to find the man who nearly killed her.

I don't normally read books that could be classed as sci fi. Time travel I can cope with if it's done simply and not to complex. In this case Harper can time travel by going to The House.

I was getting on with the book ok but then started getting very confused. The chapters switched between the characters and various time periods. There was a lot of backwards and forwards. I had to keep backtracking to see where I was. This then left me very frustrated.

For now the book unfortunately I have left unfinished half way through. This is the reason I have given it one star. If I could have finished the book it would probably be worthy of a higher score. ( )
  tina1969 | Feb 24, 2017 |
Much better than Broken Monsters. I would have appreciated a tighter ending with more information on where the characters ended up. ( )
  Heather_Brock | Nov 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lauren Beukesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hayes, KeithCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Llewellyn, RobertCover photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neleman, HansCover photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Matthew
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He clenches the orange plastic pony in the pocket of his sports coat.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
THE GIRL WHO WOULDN'T DIE HUNTS THE KILLER WHO SHOULDN'T EXIST.

"The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own."

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mizrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.

Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women burning with potential whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens onto other times.

At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He's the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable — until one of his victims survives.

Determine to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth...

The Shining Girls is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale — a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.

Haiku summary
Back and forth in time
goes a serial killer.
One victim prevails.
(julienne_preacher)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316216852, Hardcover)

The Time Traveler's Wife meets The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in this story of a time-traveling serial killer who is impossible to trace--until one of his victims survives.

In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back.

Working with an ex-homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby has to unravel an impossible mystery.

THE SHINING GIRLS is a masterful twist on the classic serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing girl in pursuit of a deadly criminal.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"A time-traveling serial killer is impossible to trace-- until one of his victims survives. In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back. Working with an ex-homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby has to unravel an impossible mystery"--Publisher's web site.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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