A novel about obsession that makes for obsessive reading.
All Owen Patterson wants is an normal life, a happy marriage, and a stable family. But following the brutal and random murder of his brother-in-law, that dream is shattered. A year later, his wife is still in mourning and his in-laws won't talk about anything but their dead son.
The murderer, Henry Joseph Raven, has been put in prison, but as far as Owen is concerned, prison isn’t punishment enough. He embarks on a quest to "balance the scales of justice," writing letters to Henry Raven under the pseudonym Lily Hazelton. His plan: to seduce the murderer, make him fall in love with his fictional correspondent, and then break his heart. From one letter to the next, Lily Hazelton develops into a curious amalgam of details from Owen’s imagination, snatches of his difficult childhood, and memories of his cousin Eileen, a suicide who was his first true love. Not entirely in control of his own creation, Owen dives headfirst into the correspondence, only to find himself caught in the trap he’s set for Henry Raven.
Bringing together an epistolary game of cat and mouse with the harrowing record of one man’s psychological collapse, The Interloper is a compelling and original debut from a bold new writer.
"As assured and sumptuously written as any first novel I’ve encountered—Antoine Wilson’s prose sings, and the story he tells here is both clever and compelling. This is writing at its very best." — T. Coraghessan Boyle
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Antoine Wilson’s work has appeared in The Paris Review, Best New American Voices, StoryQuarterly, and other periodicals. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and recipient of the Carol Houck Smith Fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. He is a contributing editor of A Public Space. This is his first novel. He lives in Los Angeles.
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Book Description Other Press, 2007. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Kirkus Reviews One man''s quest to avenge a relative''s murder becomes an obsession.creepy. San Diego Union-Tribune Although his pedigree is impressive (Iowa Writer''s Workshop, the Paris Review, "Best New American Voices"), Wilson has come seemingly out of nowhere to deliver a novel that is confident, well-paced and very, very creepy. Were he to meddle in literary affairs again and again, the world would be the better for it. Publishers Weekly .the pathos, delusion and hope festering within Owen will carry readers through. Booklist The pleasures of this wry debut novel lie not in wondering if things will turn out badly for Owen but in how badly they will go and how unreliable his narrative really is. Was his father a frustrated inventor or a drug-lab operator? Are his manuals brilliant or perennially late and barely readable? Is he just a bit odd or a full-blown nutter? Either way, Owen keeps his mind on the rails long enough to deliver an amusing account of the train wreck. ForeWord Magazine .Wilson takes his readers down a dark spiraling path with an ever-increasing tempo where past childhood memories and hatred collide with resounding tragedy. The Los Angeles Times OH, what thrilling dread, falling in with a character as twisted as the narrator of Antoine Wilson''s terrific first novel, "The Interloper." It''s like leaving a party with a designated driver, only to discover as you swerve down the driveway that your new friend is drunker than you are. Or worse, completely insane. Your sketchy guide in "The Interloper" is Owen Patterson, an unexceptional writer of software manuals a "solid B," he calls himself whose marriage to the lovely Patty is only weeks old when Patty''s brother C.J. is murdered. While Patty and her family obsess over the loss, Owen convinces himself that his marriage has been ruined by injustice. The killer, Henry Joseph Raven, got only 20-some years, and in Owen''s eyes, this is destroying his family. His sex life is bad. His in-laws are morose. His wife is encased in mourning black. Is it any wonder that Owen begins to feel some deep need to "unpoison the soil"? Screwball plan ensues: Owen will secretly pose as an attractive, lonely woman, write letters to Raven in prison, get Raven to fall in love with the phony woman he''s created, and then have her cruelly dump him. Take that, ruthless killer! A contributing editor for the fine literary magazine A Public Space, Wilson writes a clean, restrained line that works well for the setup and for the creeping fun that follows: a manic, darkly comic descent into delusional obsession. There is no shortage of clues from the outset that Owen is a little off, starting with the fact that he seems actually to believe that breaking the heart of a murderer will somehow "balance the scales of justice." As he''s creating the woman who will woo Raven via the mail, Owen recalls his own first love, an older cousin who initiated him into sex and later died of a drug overdose. Owen samples her personality for these letters and even goes so far as to digitally superimpose this dead lover-cousin''s face onto various female bodies in an effort to strike the perfect note of sexuality and neediness that would interest a lonely, incarcerated killer. At this point, "The Interloper" becomes largely epistolary, as Wilson offers a pitch-perfect correspondence between the meek but decent "Lily" and the cruel but sensitive Raven. Owen steals the journal of his murdered brother-in-law, and as we read the entries and the letters, it''s striking how fully Wilson can channel these characters through their writing. In fact, the invented Lily threatens to become the most real of all the people for Owen and for the reader. One might even begin to suspect Wilson of having wry postmodern intentions; perhaps a commentary on the novelist as sick ventriloquist, obsessive and more than a little weird. "I had to become Lily w. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_1590512634