Foe by Iain ReidFoe by Iain Reid


byIain Reid

Paperback | April 9, 2019

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A taut, philosophical mind-bender from the bestselling author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things.

We don’t get visitors. Not out here. We never have.

Junior and Hen are a quiet married couple. They live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with surprising news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm...very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Hen won’t have a chance to miss him at all, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Hen will have company. Familiar company.

Foe examines the nature of domestic relationships, self-determination, and what it means to be (or not to be) a person. An eerily entrancing page-turner, it churns with unease and suspense from the first words to its shocking finale.
Title:FoeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.38 × 5.5 × 0.6 inPublished:April 9, 2019Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1501103482

ISBN - 13:9781501103483

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Creepy! When I came across this book at Indigo and saw that it was Iain Reid's new novel, I knew I had to read it and read it I did - in less than a day! I absolutely loved the characters and the creepiness. I, unlike others who have reviewed this work, did not clue into the big reveal until it was presented and then I strongly suspected the second reveal at the very end. I don't want to give anything away here! My question is, what is the deal with those annoying beetles that keep appearing? Do the characters react to them differently?. I might have to go back and check! I can see this becoming a very appealing movie. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2019-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Quick, Great Read This is one of those science fiction stories that is meant to try and trip you up. Where everything is not quite as it seems and your narrator may be unreliable. It's hard to write much about Foe without giving away too much detail. Essentially it's only 200 pages, it's a great read and if you like a good mystery you'll probably enjoy it. Set in the not too distant future, Ian Reid sets us up with a scenario where an isolated couple on a farm have had the man chosen for a colony off-plant; but not the woman. What ensues is the couple trying to come to terms with this plan; while a representative of the company sending the man invades their lives. The book setting remains at the farm on earth. For those afraid of too much science-y stuff; there is not a lot of it in this book. Although the science-y things that are present are very important. It's obvious from the beginning that something is not quite right. The real question is what is the truth and what is not. And who can you trust. I don't want to say anymore... just read it! Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
Date published: 2018-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read it. Read it. And try not to read too much about it before you read it. Brilliantly creepy, unsettling. Reid is so good at setting you on edge with subtlety and an economy of words. A hell of a character study. That's all I'm going to say.
Date published: 2018-08-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Haunting and beautiful Many thanks to Netgalley, Simon and Schuster Canada and Iain Reid for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% mine and independent of receiving an advanced copy. This is the kind of book I absolutely love. It reminds me of “The Twilight Zone”. Everything seems very normal but there is an underlying creepy, dark undertone that gives you the chills. You can’t put your finger on it but you know it’s coming. It is set in the future but other than a few telltale signs it could take place today, giving it a timeless feel. This book delivered in every way that was important. It is stark and hauntingly beautiful and makes you think about the big questions of life, love, relationships and what we want out of life. By paring back on all the extraneous details, Reid allows the focus to remain on the characters. Junior and his wife Henrietta live on a farm, far away from civilization with no social interaction. Their farm is run down and although there is much space Junior and Hen live almost on top of one another, each being the other’s entire world. They are a quiet couple but you are never sure if it is because they are so comfortable with one another they don’t need to say anything or if there is a distance between them that neither one of them want to address. One night a mysterious man named Terence appears on their doorstep informing them that Junior is being considered by OuterMore Corporation for an adventure that will take him far away. They don’t know when he will be leaving, how long he will be gone or what he will be doing, but Terence assures them that now they are part of the “family” they will be well looked after. There is no choice in the matter, it is not something Junior applied for and Terence’s happy-to-help exterior but never-answer-any-question-with-details interior definitely let’s you know something is up. Two years go by and Terence knocks on their door again to inform them Junior has been selected and he will be going into space. He moves in with the couple and proceeds to administer many tests. Terence needs to know everything not only about Junior but about Junior and Hen as a couple. The strain on having him be so invasive takes a toll on the couple. Junior feels Henrietta pulling away. Terence’s evasiveness puts a toll on Junior and he starts to unravel. There is so much more going on but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who wants to read the book. This read like a play. Anyhow, that’s how it played in my mind. There are so many big questions that this book evokes I will only touch on a few. When Terence returns for the second time Junior wants him out of his house. Junior says the reason is that he and Henrietta need their privacy. Terence’s reply is that he had two years. He knew he was leaving so why did he wait until the last minute to spend so much time with her, be close to her, say important things to her. Why do we wait? Why don’t we live every moment to the fullest. Having had a serious health scare, you would think I had learned this lesson better than most. But life has a funny way of taking over and we don’t live every moment like it is our last. Why aren’t our priorities more in line with our wishes? Henrietta hints at the fact that she might not be happy. She wants to explore the big city and do exciting things. Why can’t she share this with the person to whom she is closest to? What is it that stops her from sharing her wants, dreams and desires with Junior? These are the types of gems that this book leaves in its wake for you to ponder. I don’t want to give you the impression that this is a heavy book. The sci-fi part is very very cool. There are lots of ethical questions that also could be entertained with that piece. I’m being vague because I don’t want to give anything away. The mystery/thriller aspect keeps you guessing until you slowly start to put the pieces together. There is an underlying creepiness that gives you chills but never crosses into horror at all. There are many entry points so even if you think this isn’t your genre, I think it is worth give this one a try.
Date published: 2018-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from !!! (( full review and more at )) I loved this book. Think Slaughterhouse 5 meets old school sci-fi movies with chilling atmospheric tension to rival that of Stephen King. I do want to be clear and say that this is not a science fiction novel. It’s a thriller. It’s a character study. It’s brilliant. I honestly can’t think of any other book like this. It’s truly so bizarre it’s brilliant.
Date published: 2018-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unsettling, unexpected Iain Reid stunned me with his last book, I'm Thinking of Ending Things. I couldn't wait to start reading his latest, Foe. I love the cover, the starry skies above, the isolated barn highlighted from above. But it's the skewed title word that had me wondering what I might find inside. What I found was a story I couldn't have imagined - one that took me only a day to devour. Set sometime in the future, Foe is the story of Junior and Hen, a married couple who live on an isolated property. One day Terrance, a government agent of some sort, arrives to let Junior know that he has been selected for the long list. What list? "For the Installation. .... You might even get to be part of the first move. The first wave. You might get to live up there." And to that end, Terrance begins to interview Junior over the course of the next couple of years. His interviews, measurements and diagnostics take a more intimate and intrusive path as they progress. And the final piece? He needn't worry - Hen won't be alone if he is chosen to go. For the reader, those interviews lets us have an inside look at their marriage. What builds a relationship? Memories? Plans for the future? Wants, desires, dreams? What is love? But still, there is something off with their interactions. Is Hen done with the marriage? Does she want something else for her life? Unsettling undertones are present in almost every conversation. And just like I'm Thinking of Ending Things, the final chapters of Foe will have you questioning everything you just read. And I have to say, I loved the turn things took on the last pages. Startling, but so fitting. Foe is another stellar read from Iain Reid - unusual, unexpected and finished too fast.
Date published: 2018-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I would absolutely recommend this to anyone! Foe is a character driven novel that explores relationships and humanity. I’ve never read anything by Reid before, but I’ll certainly be seeking out his work in the future. Reid’s writing reminds me of The Walking Dead in that the plot/action are only catalysts for the characters to see how they’ll reaction. Junior and Hen are a reclusive married couple placed in an isolated area and are chose chosen to take part in a historic journey, but only Junior was selected to go. Foe then follows them as they wrestle with the consequences and complications of being apart for so long and how it will affect them personally and as a couple. Reid excels at creating an unsettling suspenseful atmosphere that will make you question what you’re reading. You think you know what’s going on only to have your idea debunked a few pages later. I guessed what was going on before the reveal, but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment at all. Overall, Foe is a philosophical novel about relationships, marriage, and humanity disguised as a science fiction novel. It’s a book that will leave you clamouring to talk to someone about, even if you have to force them to read it. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone!
Date published: 2018-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unsettling buildup leading to an unforgettable conclusion More than anything this story is like an old episode of The Twilight Zone or of Black Mirror. Having read Iain Reid's first novel I was fully anticipating an eerie buildup to a twisty reveal and that is exactly what I got. Most of the book is dialogue, external between the three characters, and internal within the main character Junior. Not a lot happens for most of the book but the atmosphere is anticipatory and unsettling. Approaching the end things start to reach a head until the big reveal which is closely followed by a smaller and for me more satisfying, twist. I suspected the first big reveal and it did not surprise me. The second one was a bit more shocking. I expected the character to do something but I didn't forsee their actions. I enjoyed that twist quite a bit! This was a very quick read and if you stick it out through all the dialogue and building of tension you will be rewarded with an unforgettable ending. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
Date published: 2018-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from *4.5 Stars - A chilling, eerie, addictive reading experience! ​Assume nothing. That’s my advice for any potential readers. Don’t assume that you are going to be able to pick this book up and read only a few pages at a time. If you’re confident that you’ll be able to see the twist coming, think again. If you believe that you’ll be able to finish this book and then not give it a second thought, good luck with that. After reading I’m Thinking of Ending Things, I should’ve known that Foe was going to be just as gripping, chilling, and mysterious. Once again, Iain Reid’s writing captivated me from the beginning and kept my curiosity piqued until the very end. Junior and Henrietta live in an isolated, rural area. They don’t leave very often, and people don’t often come by to visit them. They seem content and satisfied with their quiet life together, but their lives get shaken up when a stranger shows up to let Junior know that he’s been selected to participate in the opportunity of a lifetime. Well, my suspicions were already on high alert. I had so many questions running through my mind. I was surprised that Junior and Henrietta were willing to even entertain what this stranger had to say, that they weren’t more inquisitive. This just made my own curiosity and frustration level rise. Despite my limited knowledge of Junior and Hen, Foe is character driven. It focuses more on how this unusual event affects Hen and Junior, rather than on the event itself. We do get tiny glimpses into their relationship and their feelings, but only enough to spark even more questions. I’m not going to get into too many of the details of the story. This is one journey to the country that you’re going to want to take on your own. Iain Reid’s storytelling doesn’t give much away, he offers his readers only small morsels of information, just enough to get your mind racing with all of the possibilities. Foe is eerie, disturbing, and left me feeling uneasy. It is an addictive story that pulls the reader in, keeps them guessing, and then yanks the rug out from under them in the end. I am looking forward to reading whatever Iain Reid’s imagination conjures up next.
Date published: 2018-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unique, reflective, and mystifying! Foe is a dark, tense, disconcerting thriller that delves into the intricate and dynamic relationship between a husband and wife and has you quickly questioning how well do you really know someone. The prose is edgy and tight. The characters are multilayered, inhibited, and anxious. And the plot is a skillfully paced, rapidly unraveling journey about life, love, marriage, loneliness, isolation, manipulation, dreams, desires, deception, futuristic endeavours, and the intense attraction of adventure. Foe at its core is a twisty, darkly comedic, exceptionally clever tale that has an otherworldly, or should I say an OuterMore quality to it that will leave you contemplating whether humanity can truly be technologically replicated and whether predictive processing, perception and expectation, influences reality more than we consciously believe. It’s riveting, entertaining, and certainly worth a read or two.
Date published: 2018-08-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Chilling Puzzle I'm not entirely sure what to say about Foe - short and quirky, it packs a punch. I was a huge fan of Iain Reid's I'm Thinking of Ending Things, so I was ecstatic to see another book of his coming out. Foe is about Junior and Hen - a rather quiet couple enjoying the quiet country life. Their world is turned upside down when a visitor drives up the laneway and tells them that Junior is on the list to participate in a project called Outermore - possibly in space, but Outermore is never really well defined. While Junior is gone, Hen will still have company as she will be given a replacement Junior - an exact replica. This book is mind-binding, ambiguous, and disorienting - I often found myself suspicious of the characters (all of them!), trying to figure out just how it is all going to fit together, but Reid always leaves us with a puzzle missing a piece or two, or those pieces that just were not quite cut right so I can't complete my picture. This is what I love about Reid. This book needs to come with a support group. Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for review.
Date published: 2018-08-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An Eery Read Thank you Simon & Schuster Canada for my gifted advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. The story follows Junior and Henriette (Hen), a simple couple living on an isolated farm out in the country, alone without family and many friends -  but happily so.   Their simple life is quickly disrupted when they are visited by a strange man, named Terrence, who comes bearing news that Junior has been randomly selected to travel to "space", and participate in the Installation, as Terrence refers to it as.  Junior's cooperation is not voluntary but rather a mandate and he and Hen don't really have much time to think about the logistics of it all or plan for it. Terrence's role is to facilitate Junior's departure and ensure that Hen will be taken care of while he is gone.  Terrence assures them that Hen won't be alone and will actually have a very familiar companion and life won't feel any different from what it currently does. Without giving away any spoilers I leave you with this:  who is this companion and why will he/she be so familiar to Hen, and how could life possibly be no different for Hen without her beloved Junior ?? I will start out by saying this was very different from my usual suspense/thriller go-to, but in a good way.  I never thought I would enjoy sci-fi but this book had me at Page 1.  This was an eery read for me and I can totally see this turning into a movie. The sci-fi element did not overcast the book too much, in my opinion, and was not the main focus of the plot.  Rather, I thought this book was more about the power of human nature and the exploration into the intricacies of human relationships (those built from scratch and those thriving on longevity).  It was truly an interesting read for me. With short chapters constantly bursting with suspense, I was completely engaged and needed to know what was going on and what would happen next.  It was a slow burn so don't expect the usual fast pace found in suspense thrillers; however the ending is worth the wait.  I was completely blown away by the end of this book. I highly recommend this one be added to your reading list if you love suspense fiction with a twist of sci-fi. My Rating: 3.5/5
Date published: 2018-08-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mysterious, puzzling and chilling read! Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for the free ARC copy of this book! It was such a pleasure to read and review. Mysterious, puzzling, chilling. Three words to describe this book. This book follows married couple Junior and Hen. They are a quiet married couple that live on a farm in a small town. They live an isolated life, where it is often just the two of them. They don’t visit others, others don’t visit them. They live a pretty secluded and isolated life often in close quarters to one another. They do everything together. Just the two of them. That is until one day a mysterious car with strange green headlights pulls up slowly into their driveway. Knowing they were not expecting anyone, as they never are, they are puzzled to who this person could be and what they could possibly want. And what is up with those strange green headlights anyways!? Slowly a man exits the car, wearing a suit, and knocks on their front door. Upon answering it, the man introduces himself as Terrance. He states that Junior has been randomly accepted to travel far away from the farm and tells them that arrangements have already been made for Junior to make the move and go on this mysterious journey. The couple invite Terrance into their home so he can explain more about what is going on. They have a lot of questions about what is going on and what purpose Junior being selected has on the whole process. As you read on, it gets stranger and stranger. Terrance creeped me out in this book. I was unsure what to think of him. This book was a very great book. It was well written and I found myself turning the pages into the late hours of the night to try to uncover the mystery of what exactly was going on. Just when I thought I had it figured out it turns out I was wrong. It was written in a way that had me asking lots of questions, but slowly those questions are answered as you read on in the book. I loved learning about Junior and Hen’s marriage and what works for them and what doesn’t. Secrets and mysteries are revealed. At there are a few surprised and reveals near the end and wow. What an ending it was! I definitely didn’t expect that! I loved it! Very well written and such a fabulous ending! If you haven’t read this book yet be sure to get it. It’s a fabulous read that will have you guessing and wondering the whole way through!
Date published: 2018-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Brilliant Study of Interaction and Being Human I received a copy of this book from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. I didn't quite know what to expect when I picked this book up. I'd not read Reid's other book, though it has been on my radar for a while now, so I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when this showed up in the mail. And I still am not entirely sure what I got myself into, what I just read, or really anything about this book. And I mean that in the best way possible. This book was nearly impossible to put down, rather unsettling, and so incredibly well written. The Good Points of Foe: The atmosphere in this book is amazing, and it doesn't waver as the story progresses. The whole thing feels unsettling and it doesn't let up until you've passed the last page of the book. Between the characters and their situation, the strange location, and everything that isn't explained, it just doesn't sit right. The way that the characters are put together and the whole thing is played down, down to the details in grammar, is absolutely brilliant. I don't typically like when people play with the writing in books, because I frequently find that it just distracts from the story, but this just worked so well, and was so brilliantly done.  I loved the characters and how they interacted with each other though the story. It's so detailed and intricate, and it comes together in such a fantastic way in the end. Add in the whole unreliable narrator thing and it takes it to a whole other level. The Downsides of Foe: This one was a little slow and a little confusing to get going. It clears up and sucks you in once you get going, but you've got to sit with it for a while and let it build up. It does stay a slow burn for the entire book, with some big moments towards the end, but once you get going, you get hooked so you don't mind so much. The book is a little predictable once you get used to the concept. It doesn't really take away from the story, but it's not super surprising when things happen because you've kind of figured out how it's going to go. All in all, this book was so good, and I really enjoyed reading it. I'm definitely going to need to go out and read his other book now. If you enjoy speculative fiction, unsettling stories, or books about futures that aren't quite utopian or dystopian but still fit into those sorts of categories, you should definitely check out Foe!
Date published: 2018-07-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from You've Just Entered the Twilight Zone As advertised this is a Black mirrors book or for older readers this will definitely make you feel like you've entered the Twilight Zone! The book quickly got me hooked, however, it did start to drag by the end but the suspense kept me going. So glad I finished as the ending is thought provoking with ideas and themes I keep coming back to. This would make for a good beach read as it is a short, easy read that will give you something to ponder as you lie on the beach and stare at the sky. I'm not much of a sci-fi reader but the psychology and suspense in this book intrigued me enough to read the author's other books. Thank you to Iain Reid for this fascinating novel and to Simon and Schuster Canada and Netgalley for the ARC.
Date published: 2018-06-05

Read from the Book

Foe Two headlights. I wake to the sight of them. Odd because of the distinct green tint. Not the usual white headlights you see around here. I spot them through the window, at the end of the lane. I must have been in a kind of quasi slumber; an after-dinner daze brought on by a full stomach and the evening heat. I blink several times, attempting to focus. There’s no warning, no explanation. I can’t hear the car from here. I just open my eyes and see the green lights. It’s like they appeared out of nowhere, shaking me from my daze. They are brighter than most headlights, glaring from between the two dead trees at the end of the lane. I don’t know the precise time, but it’s dark. It’s late. Too late for a visitor. Not that we get many of them. We don’t get visitors. Never have. Not out here. I stand, stretch my arms above my head. My lower back is stiff. I pick up the open bottle of beer that’s beside me, walk from my chair straight ahead several steps to the window. My shirt is unbuttoned, as it often is at this time of night. Nothing ever feels simple in this heat. Everything requires an effort. I’m waiting to see if, as I think, the car will stop, reverse back onto the road, continue on, and leave us alone, as it should. But it doesn’t. The car stays where it is; the green lights are pointing my way. And then, after a long hesitation or reluctance or uncertainty, the car starts moving again, toward the house. You expecting anyone? I yell to Hen. “No,” she calls down from upstairs. Of course she’s not. I don’t know why I asked. We’ve never had anyone show up at this time of night. Not ever. I take a swig of beer. It’s warm. I watch as the car drives all the way up to the house and pulls in beside my truck. Well, you better come down here, I call again. Someone’s here.

Editorial Reviews

"I'm Thinking of Ending Things is haunting me long long after I've read it."