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Under Radarby Michael Tolkin
Synopses & Reviews
By the acclaimed author of The Player comes this haunting novel of murder and redemption in a land of suffering, mystery, and magic.
Tom Levy's wife talks him into a Jamaican vacation with their two daughters, but he hates the hotel "because it was safe for children, because of its bourgeois want of eccentricity, that it was homey, with no sex, with none of the drama of sex." Haunted by his role in a brilliant insurance scam that has left him wealthy, and desperate for distraction, he constructs a fantasy world around an alluring married woman who remains hopelessly aloof. When the woman's husband encourages Tom's young daughter to dance for the crowd at a reggae concert, Tom decides his daughter has been forever debased. Seeking revenge the next day, with one fateful push atop the Dunn's River Falls, Tom kills the man in cold blood.
What drives a man to murder? Can there be peace for men of unspeakable violence? To what incredible lengths will men go in order to give meaning to their lives? What, exactly, is justice? These are the mythic questions surrounding Tom's crime and punishment.
Imprisoned in Jamaica, his family in ruins, he hears a story so powerful it turns his hair white and sends him into shock. He wakes up years later to find that he has become an honest man — and, as the possessor of a prophetic fable, the redeemer and liberator of the thieves and murderers around him. Now Tom must find a way to reenter the hearts and lives of his wife and grown daughters, this time in anonymity — as a man who has dropped the mask of self-obsession and opened his eyes to the world, to others, and to the power of story. As gripping as it is finely wrought with delicate layers of meaning, Under Radar presents a whole new level of narrative mastery from a talented and ambitious chronicler of our modern age.
"[Tolkin] fumbles with this rambling chronicle....Though pitched as a thought-provoking story about life's 'infinite battalion of choice and consequence,' [Under Radar] is marred by its uneven pacing, belabored existential tone and absurd premise not to mention its unsympathetic protagonist." Publishers Weekly
"A slender tale that begins like one of Tolkin's trademark black comedies before veering off into a fable far riskier....Scheherezade without the urgent threat of death: an enigmatic yet haunting tribute to the power of storytelling." Kirkus Reviews
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