Splinter by Sebastian Fitzek is a German psychological thriller (translated of course) about a recent widower who is tempted to join an experimental program that would wipe out the memories of the crash that killed his wife and unborn child. However when he decides not to go ahead it soon becomes clear that maybe he’d already signed up to the program and had forgotten, having already undergone treatment.
I didn’t particularly get on with this book, now I’m not the sort of woman who lives off chick lit novels about babies and shopping but this is an incredibly male novel, I personally couldn’t even get the reason behind the experimental program, how could a grieving widower even remotely think about wiping the memories of their loved one’s death when it becomes immediately obvious that to do so successfully, not only would they have to wipe out those memories, they would have to wipe out all memories of the loved one, relocating the patient with effectively a new identity in a different city at the end of the treatment. As from my little mini synopsis, the main character chooses not to enter the program (or at least is pretty sure he’s chosen not to enter the program) but I couldn’t see how anyone would want to do that and therefore the very foundation of the program and therefore of the novel seemed shaky. But this is a novel where nothing is what it seems.
I also didn’t particularly find the main character particularly worth sympathising with and I was left with the overwhelming impression as I was listening to this audiobook, that it would be better as a TV mini-series, all stylistically shot with a limited palette of greys and blues. In fact the TV like feeling of the novel and the fact that the memory loss / alteration storyline seemed so familiar from a number of movies I’ve seen (like Total Recall and a not very memorable movie featuring Liam Neeson), I resorted to checking Wikipedia half way through the novel just to double check whether Splinter had in fact been used as a basis of a TV or film adaptation I was half remembering, nothing was listed in Wikipedia though.
I realise I’ve been giving this book a pretty bad review but I would like to emphasise that a lot of my negative feeling towards this book may be purely down to my taste and the fact that I’ve read / listened to a lot of thrillers recently and maybe I’m all thrillered out. I am not normally anywhere near as sexist as to say a book is suitable for male readers or is suitable for female readers but this is a rare one for me, I really do think men would be more likely to enjoy this book than I did.