Alexis Schaitkin’s debut novel, “Saint X” is the story of an affluent family from America who travels to the Caribbean island of Saint X for a week-long vacation that will haunt all of them for the rest of their lives.
The story is told from the perspective of Claire, the younger sister of Alison, who on the final day of their vacation doesn’t come home at night, isn’t there the next morning when the family plans to fly home, and then this loss forever scars her sister, her parents, the accused, even the local businesses on the island for decades in its wake.
I really enjoyed the writing approach of the book. Mostly told from Claire’s perspective, the narrator switches between other vacationers, the suspects involved in the investigation, the college roommate, and various others impacted. It was a very novel approach to writing a book that I thought added a new dimension to it.
The different themes that Schaitkin explores in her novel include identity, loss, grief, wealth, white privilege, and some of the different factors that come into play when very wealthy people vacation in other parts of the world that are poorer, and how that socioeconomic status plays into expectations, deference, and bias or discrimination when something goes awry.
I liked this book and the many layers it uncovers around all of the above.