Minda’s drunk review of Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin.
What I Drank: I split two bottles of white wine with the husband—something from our trip to Croatia last summer and a sav blanc. For the record, I don’t think I like snag blac as much as I thought I did?
Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men – employees at the resort – are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.
Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth – not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.
As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.
MySumm: Girl who has never gotten past her sister’s unsolved death during a trip to a Caribbean island (Saint X) starts stalking one of the suspected murderers to find answers. In her quest, she gets more than she bargained for and peels back layers of the truth of find the truth.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I left feeling very unsettled. Which I think was the point? Either way, it struck me as a little faux woke—just can’t decide if that was totally intentional or semi-unintentional or totally unintentional. That said, I did think about this book for days afterwards .
What I Liked: The set-up of the whole thing kept me compelled to keep reading and it was easy to consume. The descriptions of the settinfs were also pretty great.
What I Didn’t Like: Claire’s obsessive search for “the truth” and the very detailed unnecessary descriptions were kind of exhausting. Also, I just felt very sad for a lot of these characters, though in extremely different way. IMO there’s definitely one distinctly wronged party.
What I Hated: My issue with this book is the idk self righteousness of it? The real story is the island folk and instead we have this white woman telling their stories. And ruining their lives. Honeatly I just felt kind of icky after, for better or sowed. The characters who were not Clive were just kind of skin-crawly and I was never rooting for Claire or her (admittedly dead) sister. And I think you weren’t supposed to, but like I said unsure.
What I Loved: The book did stick with me. The classism/racism presented led me to a good discussion with my husband, so that is something I lovedz
Overall Recommendation: I mean, I feel like I don’t not recommend. I did think about it like nonstop after I finished it, which is generally a good sign. But don’t necessarily expect to like it… it’s more just a critique of classism/racism/colonialism/prickled gets (autocorrected from privileged btw), intentional or semi-unintentional.
Pairing: Obviously a drink you’d order at a tropical resort. But also one that you’re not quite sure that you like? For me that’s probably a Rum Runnner… like what is it?
Rating: 3/5 stars… it’s either a 2 or a 4 depending, and I haven’t decided which one yet so it’s a 3.