David Federman has never felt appreciated. An academically gifted yet painfully forgettable member of his New Jersey high school class, the withdrawn, mild-mannered freshman arrives at Harvard fully expecting to be embraced by a new tribe of high-achieving peers. But, initially, his social prospects seem unlikely to change, sentencing him to a lifetime of anonymity. Then he meets Veronica Morgan Wells. Struck by her beauty, wit, and sophisticated Manhattan upbringing, David falls feverishly in love. Determined to win her attention and an invite into her glamorous world, he begins compromising his moral standards for this one, great shot at happiness. But both Veronica and David, it turns out, are not exactly as they seem.
©2016 Teddy Wayne (P)2016 Dreamscape Media, LLC
One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope
LONER is a well-crafted, caffeinated composition about a volatile, socially-impaired Harvard freshman from New Jersey and his poco loco fixation on an upper crust co-ed from Manhattan's upper East Side, who is not quite as transparent as she seems. Teddy Wayne builds this relationship slowly at first, then deftly manages a sort of whitewater rush where I kept looking for the next dangerous rocks.
The last 30 pages were like watching a long fuse burn toward a powder keg, or seeing another neurotic, introspective Hahvahd freshman Quentin Compson browse around Cambridge before diving into the Charles River--with Wayne's nod to Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, as near the novel's end the anti-hero David sees the plaque that is actually now on the Anderson Memorial Bridge above the Charles which reads
Drowned in the odour of honeysuckle.
This highly clever fireball of a relatively short novel has an explosive ending with a few unexpected surprises. Wayne also toys with our expectations based on gender and socio-economic status. I highly recommend this if you like psychological character studies.
Simply put, this novel artfully exposes very real threats to women and men in our society, threats that need to be denounced.
The story is largely excellent, with only a few eyebrow-raising moments of convenience or implausibility. By and large, the narrative is relatable both deeply and superficially. But more than that, it is woven cleverly with subtle foreshadowing and resonance.
Any potential shortcomings of the writing style, such as overreaching vocabulary or downright conceptual opacity, are wholly attributable to the character of the narrator.
The single greatest weakness of the book is in the performance, not because of flat affect or identical character voices but because of the quality of the recording itself. The s sound is particularly hard to listen to.
In short, this book does what it sets out to do, and it's something we need to be more aware of.
Loved this book! Loved the prose. Loved the slow burn storyline. If you enjoyed Caroline Kepnes novels (Which I did), you'll probably enjoy this.
The narrator's voice and tone were well done and appropriate to the story but as the story mired in monotony, even the performance became dull and uninteresting. Ending seemed abrupt and unsatisfactory.
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