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Lowboy: Jonathan Wray.


Can’t remember the last time I read a NYT Book Review and then felt motivated to run right out and buy that $25.00 hardback.

Woop, here it is.

It delivered as promised and then some.  

Quick take: 16 year old schizophrenic boy thinks the world is going to end in less than 10 hours. He’s escaped from his care facility, is off his meds and believes global warming is going to end the world. He will only save it if he has sex (for the first time) and cools his body off. 

There are two story lines: one of the young, unreliable narrator–who you wish you could trust as you try desperately to decipher what is really happening through his schizophrenic lens. And the other is that of his mother, in pursuit of him with an unlikely attractive police detective. To me, the first thread was way more compelling than the second…but the writing was just so damn good. It feels unstructured, rushed in parts, slightly nonsensical–but in a way that really puts you in Lowboy’s experience. It takes some mental effort and perhaps this is why Wray takes you back to scenes with his mother Violet and Ali–to give you a chance to catch your breath.

My husband said it reminded him of Murakami (yes, I’m afraid he liked it too) and of course I said ‘What? No, no, not really’. And then the New Yorker goes and writes a review less than 3 weeks later saying just this. (To which PK said lovingly: put that in your blog.) (And smoke it?) So if you like slightly trippy, slightly unsettling but majorly satisfying books….fork over the $25.

Not yet convinced? Google this thing. Everyone is reviewing this book (NYT, New Yorker, SF Chronicle….) and you should too.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. david fellows #

    The writing is undeniably good. Really good. But the problem I have with any fiction regarding schizophrenia (and other mental illnesses) is that they’re case specific. Schizophrenia is not a one-size-fits-all disease. So when I read a book like Lowboy, I can’t help but think of those I know with the disease and then start comparing and contrasting the characters to real life schizophrenics. I’ve yet to read a fictionalized account of the disease that comes close to capturing its complexity. It’s heavy reading, but non-fiction covers this territory better.

    October 5, 2009

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