The Carrier by Sophie Hannah

This is a really tricky one to review. I usually love Hannah’s books – they’re properly riveting, and shocking, and uncomfortable. The Carrier is definitely uncomfortable, but I can’t say I enjoyed that feeling this time. And looking at the reviews on Amazon, it seems to have similarly divided other fans.

Gaby is a wealthy businesswoman who ends up sharing a bedroom with gobby Lauren when her flight home from Germany is cancelled. Lauren is hysterical – revealing that an innocent man is about to go to prison for murder – and it just happens that that man is Tim Breary, Gaby’s ex-lover. Gaby determines to help him clear his name…

Without giving the plot away, this novel is about ethics in relationships. None of the characters are remotely likeable – not even the police officers, who are far more philosophical than normal detectives. Reading it made me frustrated as I couldn’t care about anyone enough to be on their side. But having mulled it over for a few days, I think that may have been Hannah’s whole point. The ending is a shock, and really made me think, and that I didn’t like the main protagonists made it have more of an impact. What is abuse within a relationship, and where is the “line”? What could you tolerate? What extremes would you go to? No one is innocent in The Carrier, and Hannah’s depiction of various types of abuse is actually deft and sensitive. While she completely overturns your expectations, she’s challenging you to stop thinking in a simplistic way. Relationships are torture, abuse isn’t always visible, and the innocent may be guilty,as the guilty are innocent. Complex and ultimately disturbing, this is one that’s going to stay with me for a long time.

Hodder, 2013, ISBN 9780340980743

Published by Jo

Writer, Editor, Librarian

2 thoughts on “The Carrier by Sophie Hannah

  1. I really didn’t enjoy this one and I have been a follower of SH since the beginning but… I’m just reading the next one The Telling Error which I’m enjoying much more. I just felt The Carrier went over my head so it is interesting to read your take on it!

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