Hosking’s tense opening pages up the ante in the crowded post-Gone Girl shelf of disappearing acts by piling on the mysterious departures of a volatile lab researcher named Grace, along with her lover and work colleague, John ... Coherence frequently goes missing as well in this unnamed character’s zigzagging account, which back-and-forths over three years as it chronicles the decline of his fractious relationship with his girlfriend in tandem with the mental and physical disintegrations of Grace and John. Hosking drops hints along the way that his narrator, a Scotch guzzler and three-time university flunk-out, isn’t playing with a full deck of cards ...his own descent into madness feels preordained, and we’re left to muddle through a hallucinatory denouement that smacks more of old-school acid trip than science or magic.
Three Years with the Rat is the type of book that I would normally pass on after stumbling on its implausible plot and suggestion of angst, but the strong voice of the narrator drew me in ... Rat starts off with the mysterious disappearance of Grace and John. This is not a murder mystery though. Instead, Hosking entertains us with a tinge of alternative reality and a strong dose of the psychology of relationships ...plot takes the reader down various avenues before reaching a dead end and backing up in time and space to find a more likely path ... While Rat is a strong work of fiction, it is unclear whether Hosking will be able to replicate this success in future works of fiction. For this reason alone, he is a writer to watch.
Hosking’s assured debut, a heady mixture of relationship drama and sci-fi time-travel thriller, features a fascinating character at its center: Grace, a brilliant, erratic, obsessively driven science student who has suddenly and inexplicably vanished. Our narrator and guide through the resulting narrative tangle, Grace’s younger brother, suffers in comparison to his charismatic sister ... Structured anachronistically, Hosking’s time-looping tale deftly teases the reader with well-deployed reveals and intrigues with elegantly limned science-fiction ideas... Hosking’s prose is limpid and tonally sophisticated; he’s a graceful wordsmith as well as a cerebral idea man. One may wish for more of Grace’s defiant, complicated voice — a version of the story from her point of view might have yielded more surprises and richer rewards—but Hosking's novel satisfies as both speculative fiction and character study ... A potent, sophisticated combination of science-fiction novel and psychological thriller.