The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams


“The Behaviour of Moths “ opens with the reclusive Ginny awaiting the arrival of her sister Vivien at the crumbling but expansive family mansion.

The sisters haven’t seen each other for forty-seven years.

Ginny is detached from reality and completely lacking in social skills and any understanding of other people after living the life of a remote recluse as her father’s apprentice in his moth research.

Vivien, on the other hand is confident and outgoing.


Ginny narrates both past and present events and it very quickly becomes clear that she is not a reliable narrator.

She even admits that:

“I know memory shouldn’t be trusted, that two people’s recall of the same event can be unbelievably different, that even their perceptions at the time can be paradoxical, so I accept that my own recollection may be heavily distorted.”

Whose view of childhood events is accurate? How did their mother die? Is someone in this story insane or is it just a difference of perspective?

My sympathies shifted back and forth between the sisters as the story unfolded.

This is a haunting book with sinister undertones and almost every event is unexpected but completely believable.

The story unfolded at just the right pace and built to a very clever conclusion.

A wonderful debut novel.

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