Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin
“So what is gratitude, really, but reverence for a system that gives and deprives at random? No, not at random. The non-randomness is exactly the point, right?”
I started Saint X with the notion that it was going to be a fast-paced thriller centered around the murder of a young girl on vacation in the Caribbean. Instead what I found was a slow-moving work of literature that serves as a commentary on classism and race with multiple points of view and many different stories infused into the overarching plot.
While on vacation with her family at a resort on the beautiful, fictitious island of Saint X, pretty eighteen-year-old Allison disappears. A few days later her body is found on a nearby cay. Two local men, Edwin and Clive, employees at the resort, are accused of murdering her and arrested. Years later, Claire, Allison’s sister, is still haunted by her death. By chance, one night Claire finds herself in Clive’s cab. After this chance encounter, Claire forms an unhealthy attachment to Clive, at first following him, and then developing a friendship with him, in the hopes that he will reveal the truth about Allison’s death.
For me, Saint X was hard to get into and impossible to maintain my attention. The writing was simply gorgeous, but the style did not resonate with me. It transitions from point of view to point of view with little explanation or consistency, and I found it difficult to follow the narrative. I stuck with it until the end because I got the feeling that the slow pace would play out eventually, making the frustration worth it. It did not.
Thank you to Bookish First and Celadon Books for the review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.