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"I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her."
So begins Liz Nugent's astonishing debut novel - a chilling, elegantly crafted, and psychologically astute exploration of the nature of evil.
Oliver Ryan, handsome, charismatic, and successful, has long been married to his devoted wife, Alice. Together they write and illustrate award-winning children's books; their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease - until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious and subsequently beats her into a coma.
In the aftermath of such an unthinkable event, as Alice hovers between life and death, the couple's friends, neighbors, and acquaintances try to understand what could have driven Oliver to commit such a horrific act. As his story unfolds, layers are peeled away to reveal a life of shame, envy, deception, and masterful manipulation.
With its alternating points of view and deft prose, Unraveling Oliver details how an ordinary man can transform into a sociopath.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By felicia jones on 09-21-17
I'll try to be brief and refrain from writing a soliloquy. I enjoyed this story, immensely. And I must say that, Oliver was the most complex and disturbed character that I've read about in quite some time. The unraveling of his troubled life was sad, and horrific; to say the least. Which prompts me to wonder - are sociopaths born, or created by circumstances? I enjoyed the narration, and the story was slow in unfolding, but it kept my interest. Just when I thought I can't bear this insensitive jerk anymore, something is revealed about his past; that stops you cold. Oliver is cold, calculating and completely, self-absorbed. Everyone around him is easily manipulated, especially the women. Their either so in love with him him, that their completely docile and submissive, enduring years of misery; or talking themselves into a sexual fantasy world; hoping that one day he'll come around. He won't! His life has so many twist and turns, that its hard to keep up. And in the very end, do you feel sorry for him; or come away thinking; perhaps he has some redeemable qualities after all. Well, written lots of mystery and shocking revelations. well worth the credit.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By cristina on 03-15-18
Disturbing...but I could not stop listening.
This is one of those books where the performances really add to the experience. There are several voices (unless Sam O'Mahony is the best actor I have ever listened to! :) ) but each and every one is superb. Excellent performances.
The story is disturbing because the main character is so incredibly cold. But the way the author lets you in on what happened and why to each of the characters is mesmerizing. I really couldn't wait to get back to it when I was forced to put it down.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful