The Premonitions Bureau by Sam Knight
It’s time for another book review! I originally wrote this review for the book club I’m a part of – Book with a Brew – you can check out the original post on their Instagram here.
This is the first non-fiction book by Sam Knight, a staff writer for The New Yorker. As an avid Bill Bryson fan, I was looking forward to reading what I thought would be an enjoyable non-fiction-in-the-style-of-a-novel book.However, this book was not what I was expecting. Instead of an enjoyable, laugh-out-loud frolic through one of the most bizarre experiments in British history, I was instead confronted with an unsettling tale of mental health rights, obsession, and death.This book starts with the Aberfan disaster of 1966 and, from that, charts one man’s quest to investigate whether future tragedies could be averted through a network of people who claim to have premonitions of such events. From plane crashes, train wrecks, and assassinations, this book takes you on a ride through both national and international incidents before abruptly ending, leaving you with several unanswered questions and even more unsettling thoughts.Knight’s book is exceptionally well written, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that you’re reading a non-fiction book rather than a historical novel. Personally, although I can understand why Knight chose to end the novel the way he did, I would’ve preferred everything tied up in a nice, neat conclusion. But I guess this book just proves the old saying – sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. Read if: you like reading about real-life, slightly peculiar, social experimentsDon’t read if: you don’t want to be kept awake pondering the deep mysteries of the shared human experience
Have you read The Premonitions Bureau? If so, what were your thoughts? Did it also stop you sleeping at night, or was that just me?