Saturday, May 24, 2008

BOOK: The Interloper by Antoine Wilson

The Interloper by Antoine Wilson

Early Reader book from LibraryThing

Creepiest narrator since Humbert Humbert. I invoke the Lolita narrator here because this book reminded me of Lolita in some ways. Not in the pedophile topic, but in the way that there are people in our society who exist and live, seemingly normal or maybe just a little off, but who are, in fact, certifiably crazy. That they can live and exist for so long with no one apparently noticing is extremely scary. Wilson did a great job of creating a character who bumbles along but has such a tenuous hold on reality that it just takes one event to send him reeling.

Owen is married to Patty. While on their honeymoon, Patty's brother CJ is murdered. Her family is plunged into grief, and Owen, who barely knew CJ, blames Henry Joseph Raven the convicted murderer for changing Patty. He becomes fixated on exacting revenge for Patty. He decides to create a woman, Lily, to write to Raven in jail, and then break his heart. Creating Lily brings up all kinds of craziness from Owen's own childhood, basing Lily on his dead cousin Eileen with whom he had been in love. (More parallels to Lolita with HH's obsession with a love affair in his teenage years.)

The book drew me in, as it was possible to see Owen's world from the rest of the character's point of view through his own narrative, and to see his spiraling downward as events progress. The clues he drops let the reader realize how disconnected Owen was from reality while at the same time, appearing to function mostly. He became so obsessed with avenging Patty to bring her out of her grief, he doesn't even recognize that she is progressing through the natural stages of grief and getting better, and while he is mad at her for obsessing over her brother, he can't see that she is moving on. He ignores all the signs of getting better and focusing instead on one mention of her brother to confirm that he needs to continue his diabolical plan.

A tight psychological thriller, I really enjoyed. It was a lesser version of Lolita, but I liked it better because it felt much more accessible as a reader, and didn't have so much extra levels. That sounds like a criticism, but it isn't. The Interloper was the parts of Lolita I liked (looking at the mind of a whack job as he reflects and justifies his actions), without the stuff I didn't (extra levels and symbolism). Thanks LibraryThing for the copy. It wasn't an ARC because this book was released in 2007.

3 comments:

Nicola said...

sounds very intiguing! I'll keep an eye out for this. Thanks.

Pam said...

This sounds good! I've added it to my list.

jennysbooks said...

Thanks for recommending this! In the end I think I disliked it more than liked it, but I really, really enjoyed reading it. Go figure.