I was first introduced to Neil Cross when I read Burial a couple of years ago. His writing is raw, dark and gripping. In Natural History I found his writing even more disturbing.
Patrick, his wife Jane and their children Charlie and Jo have settled in Devon after buying a monkey sanctuary. We become part of their daily lives and their struggle to care for the animals in this failing park while trying to navigate their place in each other's different worlds.
There is an undercurrent throughout this novel that is unsettling and predicating that something terrible is going to happen. The climax of the story is violence that is so inexplicable and the reader is left struggling to understand where it came from.
This is not an enjoyable read, but you are compelled to continue to find out what becomes of the members of this dysfunctional family and if they do end up saving the monkey sanctuary.
Natural History is akin to a movie where the characters have not been explored fully and you are left wondering why they are like they are and why they make the choices they do. And at the end of the story the reader is left feeling slightly empty and confused.