You may be just ever so slightly familiar with a novel called Gone Girl. You know, the one that spawned an entire new genre of bestselling fiction (the anti-heroine thriller) after selling two million copies… Well, in November, its author Gillian Flynn is releasing her first stand-alone work since Gone Girl – a short story called The Grownup.
Originally published as part of a little-known anthology last year, Flynn has decided to release it as a paperback in its own right, and fans of Gone Girl will recognise the very flawed-but-appealing heroine at The Grownup’s centre.
A twisted, funny and, at times, terrifying 60-page story about a fake psychic and a mysterious family, it nods to such classics as Wilkie Collins’ The Woman In White and Henry James’ The Turn Of The Screw. In fact, it reminded Stylist of Roald Dahl’s Tales Of The Unexpected thanks to an ending that totally blindsides you. We recommend you pre-order your copy now.
Read an exclusive extract from The Grownup by Gillian Flynn, below.
I spotted Susan’s house immediately. Somehow I knew. I actually stopped and stared. Then I shivered.
It was different from the rest.
It lurked. It was the only remaining Victorian house in a long row of boxy new construction. The house looked beautiful and grim: Elaborate molding and dark gray, ruffled stonework. A steep roof overhanging the front like a frown.
I watched the house. It watched me back through long baleful windows so tall a child could stand in the sill. And one was. I could see the length of his thin body: gray trousers, black sweater, a maroon tie perfectly knotted at the neck. A thicket of dark hair covering his eyes. Then a sudden blur and he’d hopped down and disappeared behind the heavy brocade drapes.
The steps to the mansion were steep and long. My heart was thumping by the time I reached the top and rang the bell. As I waited I read the inscription carved in the stone near my feet.
The carving was in an elaborate Victorian cursive, the two round o’s dissected by a feathery curlicue. It made me want to protect my belly.
Susan opened the door. Her eyes were red.
“Welcome to Carterhook Manor,” she said, fake grandeur. She caught me staring—Susan never looked good when I saw her, but today she hadn’t even pretended to brush her hair and a foul, acrid odor came off her. (Not despair or depression, just bad breath and body odor.) She shrugged limply. “I’ve finally stopped sleeping.”
The Grownup is out in paperback and e-reader on 5 November (£3.99, Orion).