The Farm by Tom Rob Smith — review

This novel has many of the aspects of banality, but it is anything but trite. In fact, it bristles with originality. The plot centers on Daniel, the homosexual son of a couple who worked hard all their lives only to end up with almost nothing because of investments destroyed during poor economic times. They choose to buy a farm in a remote part of Sweden, where Daniel’s mother was born and lived until she left for England at the age of 16 years. There the plan for a contented retirement falls apart when she encounters what she believes to be a conspiracy.

Daniel, who has consistently put off visiting his parents because he is reluctant to disclose his sexual preference and introduce them to his significant other, receives a shocking phone call from his father informing him that his mother is not well, suffering from imagined occurrences and actually a psychotic breakdown. She is brought to a hospital and Daniel prepares to fly to Sweden, but before he can, his mother leaves the hospital and flies to London in an effort to enlist his assistance in reporting the conspiracy to the police.

This begins a slow, painstaking presentation by Daniel’s mother, as she unfolds her experiences, observations and conclusions on the perceived evils that have taken place in the vicinity of the farm, including a possible sex ring involving young girls and maybe the murder of the 16-year-old daughter of a leading resident of the area. At the conclusion, Daniel undertakes to investigate the allegations by flying to Sweden and tracing his mother’s life from the beginning to the recent events. And it turns out to be quite a trip giving the author an opportunity to turn everything upside down.

Highly recommended.

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