Searching for Intruders: A Novel in Stories

Byler, Stephen Raleigh

Published by William Morrow, 2002
ISBN 10: 0066212944 / ISBN 13: 9780066212944
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0066212944 Author's acclaimed first book. Dj blurbs by Robert Stone, Jim Harrison, Tom Perotta, Maureen Howard, David Plante, Harold Bloom, etc. Bookseller Inventory #

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(34 ratings)

Synopsis: A dramatic debut novel of hunting, fishing, love, loss, and relationships traces the evolving self-awareness and experiences of Wilson Hues, an unfortunate drifter who finds himself obsessed with the consequences of his own action, and in some cases, inaction.

Review: Though this debut novel contains moments of promise, Stephen Raleigh Byler's Searching for Intruders fails to achieve the emotional depth to which it aspires. In a series of short stories separated by vignettes, the book's narrator, Wilson Hues, relates painful incidents in his life. In his matter-of-fact writing style and unflinching portrayal of emotionally and physically damaged people, Byler purposes to reveal the continuing effects of early psychological scarring through the eyes of his oversensitive narrator. Among other traumatic experiences, Hues describes the roach-infested New York apartment he and his wife shared, the alienation he encountered during his college years, and the trials of a later doomed relationship. Some of the stories resound more effectively than others, such as the poignant and starkly rendered "Shooting Heads" and "Flying," wherein the author shows insight and restraint. However, the flat, aimless prose and thematic repetition hinder the majority of the novel.

Byler demonstrates little in the way of inspired, original writing, and often slips into melodrama. While the humorless tone suggests further implications, each of the stories focus on the same notion of cyclical abuse. Disastrous patterns emerge in the novel, and the reader waits for the narrator's obsessive, selfish nature to undue his search for contentment. This recurrence, as told by a character showing no signs of self-effacement or growth, results in a disengaging and often unintentionally humorous novel. Ultimately, readers won't find much in Searching for Intruders that's worth finding. --Ross Doll

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Searching for Intruders: A Novel in Stories
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition

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