Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Book Review

"Movers and Shakers"


Lowboy by: John Wray
CanonGate. March 2009
ISBN: 978 184767 1516

Last year I managed to read the American edition of the book entitled Lowboy, and then had the great privilege of being able to take part in a book discussion event with the American author of Lowboy, John Wray. The copy of the book that I read had a different cover than the one illustrated above. Within the forum discussion with John Wray it was debated whether the basic graphical book cover being used at that time provided the potential book buyer with enough initial insight into what the story was actually about.

I see that Cannongate have now released an edition of this book with a new cover, which proves that reader's feedback can be at times, actually be taken into account by both authors and publishers! 

This was a very different type of book from my usual reads, but yet held me spellbound all the way through it from start to finish. Most of the many reviews that I have since read, in relation to this particular book have been very good. I have only seen one short review commenting negatively about Lowboy.

Will Heller, or Lowboy as he is otherwise know within the story, is the principle character, and New York Detective Ali Lateef has been assigned to the task of finding him.

  It is the slowly fragmenting character of Lowboy that sweeps you along when reading this particular book. Lowboy has escaped from a 'school'  establishment where he had been held for two years and believes that "the world's going to die in ten hours, by fire".  Lowboy is determined to do whatever he can to prevent this and believes that if he loses his virginity it will also be a way to stop global warming occuring. As you may have started to guess by now, Lowboy has a mental illness and as this story progresses, you can see Lowboy's thinking and behaviour slowly fragmenting, due to his lack of appropriate medication since leaving the 'school'.

A good part of this story is set in the New York Subway. John Wray creates  a realistic feel to this type of busy and bustling environment and also reveals other parts to this setting that are normally hidden from regular view.

This is in realty, a fast paced but sad story, about an individual who has been delt a much less fortunate life than many of ourselves. John Wrey has an amazing writing style, that has managed to capture in this story, some of the possible thoughts and behaviours of an individual, who is actually experiencing a psychotic illness, in all its fury. 

This book can have the effect of leaving an individual a bit unsettled after its reading, but if this does happen, then I think John Wray has done his job very well as an author. To write and have published, a fictional story in relation to a still slightly taboo subject within our society - mental illness, then this, in my mind is a great achievement by John Wray.

I urge all blog followers to read this book if you manage to get the chance!

This is a recommended 4 star read.

1 comment:

  1. I was drawn to the title of this book and although I am curious, I most likely would not read at this point in my life because I don't want to be left feeling unsettled. Personally I do know the sad effects of mental illness for an the individual and within a family. I do wish John Wray great success with his novel and perhaps it will further educate people about mental illness. Blessed be.


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