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Publisher's Summary

Early one morning in New York City, Will Heller, a 16-year-old paranoid schizophrenic, gets on a New York City uptown B train on a fantastic and terrifying quest to save the world. Violet Heller, his desperate mother, is joined by Ali Lateef, a missing persons specialist, in a desperate attempt to locate her son before psychosis claims him completely. As the stakes grow higher, Lateef gradually comes to realize that this is more than a case of a runaway teen: Will Heller has a chilling case history, and Violet - beautiful and enigmatic, harbors a secret that Lateef will discover at his own peril.
©2009 John Wray (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"The novel has a thriller-like pace, and Wray keeps us riveted and guessing, finding chilling rhetorical and pictorial equivalents for Will's uniquely dysfunctional perspective...The suspense is expertly maintained, straight through the novel's dreamlike climactic encounter and heart-wrenching final paragraph. The opening pages recall Salinger's Holden Caulfield, but the denouement and haunting aftertaste may make the stunned reader whisper 'Dostoevsky.' Yes, it really is that good." ( Kirkus starred)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Seth H. Wilson on 03-22-09

Tight, Evocative Storytelling

Lowboy, the nickname of the novel's main character, owing to his proclivity for riding the New York subway "low" underground, is on a mission. The opening pages establish the timeframe for this mission: it must be accomplished in a single day. Thus Wray meets one of Aristotle's requisites for good storytelling--the unity of time.

Wray's writing is excellent in almost every other respect. The pacing is perfect and keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat. The dialogue is at once humorous and touching. Symbolism runs consistently throughout the novel.

I find that the vivid metaphors of the book sometimes range beyond the brilliant and into the obscure or opaque, but this doesn't detract much from the overall writing.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

By Lawrence Jacobsen on 11-20-09

Impressive-MOST impressive...

The significance of this book is that here is a writer who understands the mind of a person in the grip of psychosis, who is seeing the world that we see through the veil and shade of the disease. The writer captures both the fact of the madness, and the actual BANALITY of it all, which is an impressive feat, whose worth should NOT be overlooked or taken lightly. But it is for just this reason that character development may seem spotty to the listener, the characterizations two dimensional, even, at some points, empty.

You may think, oh, this is BORING - but there is a POINT to this - its not just bad writing. The listener has to look past this - there is a method to it. To chalk it up merely to bad writing would be a MISTAKE. DON'T MISS THE POINT, because its quite the opposite. The writer is showing you how people with this disease see and interact with the world. I don't think I've ever seen another writer attempt something like this so artfully, and with such subtlety.

There are two surprises lurking in the book that are not revealed until towards the end of the book, with the very last one at the very end. The last one, especially, took my breath away because I didn't see it coming, and I was paying attention, caught up in the narrative of what was going on - so I was totally FAKED OUT.

The writer knows his subject, and does a GOOD JOB. It starts slow and really ramps up at the end, but its subtle, and you don't realize how engrossed you really are in what is going on in the book. I think these are the kinds of things you want to see in a book, and as a bonus you get to see someone who can really express how mentally ill people see the world. This is no small feat, and I think that the presence of these things in the book is a CLEAR indication of a good, if not an EXCELLENT, writer. I would definitely recommend this.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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