Monday, November 29, 2010
Amazon Blurb -
The unnamed narrator of this chilling, uncomfortable first novel lives a life many men work vainly all their lives to attain: wealth, successful political career, beautiful wife, two attractive children. At the age of 50, however, the narrator has yet to feel passionately about anything--or anyone--in his life. Then his son brings home the woman he plans to marry, the enigmatic Anna Barton, and he recognizes in Anna the passion for which he will eagerly lay to waste everything and everyone in his life. Anna, tragedy ever-present in her life, warns, "Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive." Unheeding, he does not veer from a path which can lead only to damage for everyone except, ultimately, perhaps Anna herself. Compulsively readable enough to be devoured in a single sitting, this novel is brilliant, but unsettling. Obsession and its aftermath can be fascinating, but never comfortable, reading.
This is a very disturbing story. The unnamed protagonist opens the book with a background of his life. You immediately get the sense that he is just existing, in spite of his success-fullness. Grew up wealthy, marries Ingrid who is smart beautiful and also wealthy, a doctor, two children, Martyn and Sally, and is a Member of Parliament. Not high up there like one of our Senators, but in none the less.
Martyn is a very handsome man. The book goes to great pains to make that clear. He is also a bit of a Casanova till he meets Anna Barton. Ingrid does NOT like Anna. She is eight years older than him and something just seems off about her. Having been out each time Anna was at the house he hasn't met her, till, while at a Christmas party on his own, he hears her being introduced behind him. He doesn’t move a muscle to acknowledge her, but hearing her voice suddenly opens his whole universe and that’s all she wrote, no pun intended. He was instantly done and from there on it goes from bad to worse. They start an affair that consumes his very being. How he does this is beyond me. Set aside his wife and her hurt for one minute. He is carrying on with his son’s, his own flesh and blood’s love of their life. Martyn is so taken with Anna, as much as the father.
This girl is off, she is way off, Mama was very correct in her assumption. Everyone she has been involved with comes out damaged, and she admits this to him herself. Her mother, stepfather and father try to subtly warn the family, the stepfather one on one to him after seeing how he watches Anna, to no avail. Her thought process is as long as he leaves her be as his son does, all will be fine. It gets to be excruciating for him, almost screaming at his son to stop touching her at a family gathering.
To see how this ends was just shocking and so very sad. It made me want to club her more than him, to be honest. Cool, calculating, and twisted in her own way, the story weaves through and just makes you feel heartbroken. I don’t know if saying it was a good book are the right words, it grabs you, you feel very strong emotions, it keeps you interested, so in that respect yes it qualifies for a good book. This was also a movie with Jeremy Irons and was just released in e-book form on net-galley, which is why I read it. If you can handle emotional wringers like this, go for it.
3 ½ cannolis