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25 Remote Warehouse Popular Fiction- Suspense

Helpless

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Helpless Cover

ISBN13: 9780312427665
ISBN10: 0312427662
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Rachel is a nine-year-old girl whose luminous beauty inspires every form of admiration. One summer night, when a summer blackout plunges the city into darkness and confusion, her most fervent admirer--a middle-aged appliance repairman named Ron--abducts her from her home. Set over the next two weeks, Helpless moves between the perspectives of Rachel, her mother, Celia, and Ron, whose feelings for Rachel grow less innocent by the day. Tapping into the fear that resides just below the surface of contemporary city life, Helpless is a "brilliantly realized thriller about every parent's nightmare" (Calgary Herald).

Barbara Gowdy is the author of six previous books, including most recently The White Bone and The Romantic. Her fiction has been published in more than twenty countries. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Nine-year-old Rachel Fox has the face of an angel and a luminous personality that strikes all who meet her. Her single mother, Celia, working at a video store by day and a piano bar by night, is not always around to shield her daughter from the attentionboth benign and sinisterthat her beauty draws. Attention from model agencies, for example, or from Ron, a small-appliance repairman who, having seen Rachel once, is driven to see her again and again.

When a summer blackout plunges the city into darkness and confusion, Rachel is taken from her home. A full-scale search begins, but days pass with no solid clues, only a phone call Celia receives from a woman whose voice she has heard before but cannot place. And as Celia fights her terror and Rachel starts to trust in her abductors kindness, the only other person who knows where she is wavers between loyalty to the captor and saving the child. Rachel's abductor has an urge to protect and cherish her, but that urge could develop into something altogether less innocent if she is not rescued in time.

Tapping into the fear that lies just below the surface of contemporary city life, Barbara Gowdy draws on her trademark empathy and precision to create a portrait of love at its most consuming and ambiguous and to uncover the volatile point at which desire gives way to the unthinkable.

"Here the imaginative Gowdy reins in her surrealistic side in the service of a more conventional plot, and the result makes for absorbing reading. Single mother Celia Fox works two jobs but is plagued by money problems; however, she never considers her daughter anything less than a blessing. She still feels a sense of amazement that the beautiful nine-year-old Rachel, who has received the attention of a local modeling agency, is really hers. But then Rachel draws the admiration of Ron, a middle-aged appliance repairman who becomes convinced that her mother is neglecting her. During a blackout, he abducts her and locks her in a room he has constructed just for her, complete with a plasma TV and a custom-made dollhouse. As the police hunt for Rachel intensifies, so do the emotions of the involved parties. Even Gowdy's secondary characters are memorable, especially Celia's kindhearted, intellectual landlord and Ron's vulnerable, ex-addict girlfriend. But [Gowdy's] true feat is the sympathetic portrayal of Ron himself, a man who seems painfully unaware of his own dark impulses."Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
 
"Gowdy's tale of the stalking and kidnapping of a beautiful young mixed-race Canadian girl is all the more chilling for its calm, understated reporting. Celia, a single mom holding down two jobs to support her beloved daughter, nine-year-old Rachel of the golden hair, pale blue eyes, and tawny brown skin (father unknown), is rushed into every parent's nightmare when the deeply creepy Ron, a small-appliance repairman, uses the cover of a Toronto summertime blackout to 'rescue' Rachel from what he sees as her unsavory poverty. With the help of his girlfriend, Nancy, an uneasy accomplice whose thwarted maternal instincts impel her to try to protect Rachel, Ron imprisons the girl in his basement apartment. Ron's struggles with his vile urges toward Rachel are in a race with Celia and the police's frantic search for Rachel, helped along by the media circus. At the height of this unbearable crescendo, Gowdy suddenly leads her readers into unexpected territory . . . Highly recommended."Beth E. Anderson, Library Journal
 
"From the accomplished Canadian novelist and short-story writer, an allconsuming tale of child abduction. Gowdy pulls together a group of everyday individuals in Toronto who suddenly find themselves playing extraordinary roles when one of theminsular, delusional appliance-repair man Roncrosses the line between dreams and active intervention. Glimpsing blonde, mixed race, nine-year-old Rachel Fox one day at her school, Ron immediately falls in love. The child's exceptional beauty has already made her the subject of borderline-suspicious male attention, ranging from an advertising agency to a suitor of her impoverished single mother, Celia. While stalking Rachel, Ron persuades himself that she is the subject of abuse by both Celia and their gay landlord, Mika. Notions of snatching her and transferring her affections to him become increasingly compelling, and he spends time and money transforming his secure basement into a girl's dream bedroom. When a blackout strikes the city, Ron seizes the opportunity to take Rachel. Gowdy's skillful character portraits, enhanced by minutely detailed shifts of attitude and response, include not only the parent and child but also Ron's compromised girlfriend, Nancy. Of the few narrative events, there is a detailed account of the police process and the media's response. Mostly, though, Gowdy focuses on psychological developments: Rachel's gradual involvement with her captors; Celia's manic internal dialogue; Ron's creeping acknowledgement that his protective adoration is in fact something less pure. An assured, perceptive, deftly delivered story."Kirkus Reviews
 
"Love comes up against obsession in Gowdy's seventh novel, and the results are at times chilling . . . Single mother Celia works two jobs and is often forced to bring nine-year-old Rachel along to her nighttime gigs at a piano bar. Much to Celia's dismay, men are already drawn to biracial Rachel's exotic beauty, and she reluctantly turns down a lucrative modeling contract for the girl. Yet she's unaware that appliance repairman Ron Clarkson has an unhealthy fascination with Rachel that's escalating. Convinced that Celia is not a worthy parent for Rachel, Ron abducts the girl, soon involving his needy girlfriend, Nancy, and igniting an extensive investigation . . . frequent glimpses into the childhoods of Ron, Nancy and Celia add depth, revealing the characters' motivations and inviting contemplation of what constitutes appropriate love toward a child . . . [most] compelling are Nancy's conflicted loyalties and Celia's occasional brutal reflections on the sometimes greedy, possessive love between parent and childa love not unlike obsession."Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

Rachel is a nine-year-old girl whose luminous beauty inspires every form of admiration. One summer night, when a summer blackout plunges the city into darkness and confusion, her most fervent admirer--a middle-aged appliance repairman named Ron--abducts her from her home. Set over the next two weeks, Helpless moves between the perspectives of Rachel, her mother, Celia, and Ron, whose feelings for Rachel grow less innocent by the day. Tapping into the fear that resides just below the surface of contemporary city life, Helpless is a "brilliantly realized thriller about every parent's nightmare" (Calgary Herald).

Barbara Gowdy is the author of six previous books, including most recently The White Bone and The Romantic. Her fiction has been published in more than twenty countries. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Nine-year-old Rachel Fox has the face of an angel and a luminous personality that strikes all who meet her. Her single mother, Celia, working at a video store by day and a piano bar by night, is not always around to shield her daughter from the attentionboth benign and sinisterthat her beauty draws. Attention from model agencies, for example, or from Ron, a small-appliance repairman who, having seen Rachel once, is driven to see her again and again.

When a summer blackout plunges the city into darkness and confusion, Rachel is taken from her home. A full-scale search begins, but days pass with no solid clues, only a phone call Celia receives from a woman whose voice she has heard before but cannot place. And as Celia fights her terror and Rachel starts to trust in her abductors kindness, the only other person who knows where she is wavers between loyalty to the captor and saving the child. Rachel's abductor has an urge to protect and cherish her, but that urge could develop into something altogether less innocent if she is not rescued in time.

Tapping into the fear that lies just below the surface of contemporary city life, Barbara Gowdy draws on her trademark empathy and precision to create a portrait of love at its most consuming and ambiguous and to uncover the volatile point at which desire gives way to the unthinkable.

"Here the imaginative Gowdy reins in her surrealistic side in the service of a more conventional plot, and the result makes for absorbing reading. Single mother Celia Fox works two jobs but is plagued by money problems; however, she never considers her daughter anything less than a blessing. She still feels a sense of amazement that the beautiful nine-year-old Rachel, who has received the attention of a local modeling agency, is really hers. But then Rachel draws the admiration of Ron, a middle-aged appliance repairman who becomes convinced that her mother is neglecting her. During a blackout, he abducts her and locks her in a room he has constructed just for her, complete with a plasma TV and a custom-made dollhouse. As the police hunt for Rachel intensifies, so do the emotions of the involved parties. Even Gowdy's secondary characters are memorable, especially Celia's kindhearted, intellectual landlord and Ron's vulnerable, ex-addict girlfriend. But [Gowdy's] true feat is the sympathetic portrayal of Ron himself, a man who seems painfully unaware of his own dark impulses."Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
 
"Gowdy's tale of the stalking and kidnapping of a beautiful young mixed-race Canadian girl is all the more chilling for its calm, understated reporting. Celia, a single mom holding down two jobs to support her beloved daughter, nine-year-old Rachel of the golden hair, pale blue eyes, and tawny brown skin (father unknown), is rushed into every parent's nightmare when the deeply creepy Ron, a small-appliance repairman, uses the cover of a Toronto summertime blackout to 'rescue' Rachel from what he sees as her unsavory poverty. With the help of his girlfriend, Nancy, an uneasy accomplice whose thwarted maternal instincts impel her to try to protect Rachel, Ron imprisons the girl in his basement apartment. Ron's struggles with his vile urges toward Rachel are in a race with Celia and the police's frantic search for Rachel, helped along by the media circus. At the height of this unbearable crescendo, Gowdy suddenly leads her readers into unexpected territory . . . Highly recommended."Beth E. Anderson, Library Journal
 
"From the accomplished Canadian novelist and short-story writer, an allconsuming tale of child abduction. Gowdy pulls together a group of everyday individuals in Toronto who suddenly find themselves playing extraordinary roles when one of theminsular, delusional appliance-repair man Roncrosses the line between dreams and active intervention. Glimpsing blonde, mixed race, nine-year-old Rachel Fox one day at her school, Ron immediately falls in love. The child's exceptional beauty has already made her the subject of borderline-suspicious male attention, ranging from an advertising agency to a suitor of her impoverished single mother, Celia. While stalking Rachel, Ron persuades himself that she is the subject of abuse by both Celia and their gay landlord, Mika. Notions of snatching her and transferring her affections to him become increasingly compelling, and he spends time and money transforming his secure basement into a girl's dream bedroom. When a blackout strikes the city, Ron seizes the opportunity to take Rachel. Gowdy's skillful character portraits, enhanced by minutely detailed shifts of attitude and response, include not only the parent and child but also Ron's compromised girlfriend, Nancy. Of the few narrative events, there is a detailed account of the police process and the media's response. Mostly, though, Gowdy focuses on psychological developments: Rachel's gradual involvement with her captors; Celia's manic internal dialogue; Ron's creeping acknowledgement that his protective adoration is in fact something less pure. An assured, perceptive, deftly delivered story."Kirkus Reviews
 
"Love comes up against obsession in Gowdy's seventh novel, and the results are at times chilling . . . Single mother Celia works two jobs and is often forced to bring nine-year-old Rachel along to her nighttime gigs at a piano bar. Much to Celia's dismay, men are already drawn to biracial Rachel's exotic beauty, and she reluctantly turns down a lucrative modeling contract for the girl. Yet she's unaware that appliance repairman Ron Clarkson has an unhealthy fascination with Rachel that's escalating. Convinced that Celia is not a worthy parent for Rachel, Ron abducts the girl, soon involving his needy girlfriend, Nancy, and igniting an extensive investigation . . . frequent glimpses into the childhoods of Ron, Nancy and Celia add depth, revealing the characters' motivations and inviting contemplation of what constitutes appropriate love toward a child . . . [most] compelling are Nancy's conflicted loyalties and Celia's occasional brutal reflections on the sometimes greedy, possessive love between parent and childa love not unlike obsession."Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

Rachel is a nine-year-old girl whose luminous beauty inspires every form of admiration. One summer night, when a summer blackout plunges the city into darkness and confusion, her most fervent admirer--a middle-aged appliance repairman named Ron--abducts her from her home. Set over the next two weeks, Helpless moves between the perspectives of Rachel, her mother, Celia, and Ron, whose feelings for Rachel grow less innocent by the day. Tapping into the fear that resides just below the surface of contemporary city life, Helpless is a "brilliantly realized thriller about every parent's nightmare" (Calgary Herald).

About the Author

Barbara Gowdy is the author of five previous books, including, most recently, The White Bone and The Romantic. Her fiction has been published in more than twenty countries. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

GDuperreault, September 6, 2010 (view all comments by GDuperreault)
This is a disturbing book, one that once begun kept me turning the pages. It is very typically Gowdy, meaning that the protagonist is someone amoral who has been humanized. And that is what marks Gowdy apart from the good writer — the ability to bring to her readers a feeling of understanding, and even some empathy, for a completely unsympathetic character. It seems anti-social to think and feel that a child abductor could be human, and not just a caricature of evil. But this is the power of Gowdy's writing.

Gowdy commented that the story she wanted to explore with Helpless was the anguish of a parent whose child disappears. And on the surface the disturbing part of this book is of a mother's horror of a child being abducted by a person or persons unknown. But somehow that story did not dominate the novel. Perhaps, during the writing, the writer's challenge of the abductor's motivation and humanity took over because that part becomes the central driving element of the novel. And what makes the book as disturbing, psychologically, as it is — and it is very disturbing — is the manner of Gowdy's portrayal of the kidnapper.

In her hands the human proceeded along an insane course of action within the bounds of fully justified logic and sound reasoning. There is a disturbing, unsettling empathy that is generated by this character as he proceeds along his path not as an insane evil creature, but as a frail human who has successfully denied to himself the nature of his nature. His self-delusion allows him to perfectly rationalize his actions; within his scope of self denied understanding his motivations are truly honourable and in this psychology he echos our own failings of self understanding, honesty and/or awareness. Not that many of us have stalked and kidnapped children! But where have we, for example, not fallen victim to own self denials, to our own delusions about our motivations or sense of social propriety? Who here on the planet has not rationalized and justified small selfish behaviours as being for some kind of altruistic 'best'? Where have we chosen to live a lie because it served an end which was made to look generous but served our ego's need? When have we mislead someone around us to support us, or manipulated someone to collaborate with us to assuage our feeling of doing something amoral? And how often are we unaware of why it is we do the things we do, ignorant of what motivates us?

[... for my extended review, visit my blog egajdbooks.blogspot.com]
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312427665
Author:
Gowdy, Barbara
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Suspense
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20080431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.708 in

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Related Subjects

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Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

Helpless New Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Picador USA - English 9780312427665 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

Rachel is a nine-year-old girl whose luminous beauty inspires every form of admiration. One summer night, when a summer blackout plunges the city into darkness and confusion, her most fervent admirer--a middle-aged appliance repairman named Ron--abducts her from her home. Set over the next two weeks, Helpless moves between the perspectives of Rachel, her mother, Celia, and Ron, whose feelings for Rachel grow less innocent by the day. Tapping into the fear that resides just below the surface of contemporary city life, Helpless is a "brilliantly realized thriller about every parent's nightmare" (Calgary Herald).

Barbara Gowdy is the author of six previous books, including most recently The White Bone and The Romantic. Her fiction has been published in more than twenty countries. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Nine-year-old Rachel Fox has the face of an angel and a luminous personality that strikes all who meet her. Her single mother, Celia, working at a video store by day and a piano bar by night, is not always around to shield her daughter from the attentionboth benign and sinisterthat her beauty draws. Attention from model agencies, for example, or from Ron, a small-appliance repairman who, having seen Rachel once, is driven to see her again and again.

When a summer blackout plunges the city into darkness and confusion, Rachel is taken from her home. A full-scale search begins, but days pass with no solid clues, only a phone call Celia receives from a woman whose voice she has heard before but cannot place. And as Celia fights her terror and Rachel starts to trust in her abductors kindness, the only other person who knows where she is wavers between loyalty to the captor and saving the child. Rachel's abductor has an urge to protect and cherish her, but that urge could develop into something altogether less innocent if she is not rescued in time.

Tapping into the fear that lies just below the surface of contemporary city life, Barbara Gowdy draws on her trademark empathy and precision to create a portrait of love at its most consuming and ambiguous and to uncover the volatile point at which desire gives way to the unthinkable.

"Here the imaginative Gowdy reins in her surrealistic side in the service of a more conventional plot, and the result makes for absorbing reading. Single mother Celia Fox works two jobs but is plagued by money problems; however, she never considers her daughter anything less than a blessing. She still feels a sense of amazement that the beautiful nine-year-old Rachel, who has received the attention of a local modeling agency, is really hers. But then Rachel draws the admiration of Ron, a middle-aged appliance repairman who becomes convinced that her mother is neglecting her. During a blackout, he abducts her and locks her in a room he has constructed just for her, complete with a plasma TV and a custom-made dollhouse. As the police hunt for Rachel intensifies, so do the emotions of the involved parties. Even Gowdy's secondary characters are memorable, especially Celia's kindhearted, intellectual landlord and Ron's vulnerable, ex-addict girlfriend. But [Gowdy's] true feat is the sympathetic portrayal of Ron himself, a man who seems painfully unaware of his own dark impulses."Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
 
"Gowdy's tale of the stalking and kidnapping of a beautiful young mixed-race Canadian girl is all the more chilling for its calm, understated reporting. Celia, a single mom holding down two jobs to support her beloved daughter, nine-year-old Rachel of the golden hair, pale blue eyes, and tawny brown skin (father unknown), is rushed into every parent's nightmare when the deeply creepy Ron, a small-appliance repairman, uses the cover of a Toronto summertime blackout to 'rescue' Rachel from what he sees as her unsavory poverty. With the help of his girlfriend, Nancy, an uneasy accomplice whose thwarted maternal instincts impel her to try to protect Rachel, Ron imprisons the girl in his basement apartment. Ron's struggles with his vile urges toward Rachel are in a race with Celia and the police's frantic search for Rachel, helped along by the media circus. At the height of this unbearable crescendo, Gowdy suddenly leads her readers into unexpected territory . . . Highly recommended."Beth E. Anderson, Library Journal
 
"From the accomplished Canadian novelist and short-story writer, an allconsuming tale of child abduction. Gowdy pulls together a group of everyday individuals in Toronto who suddenly find themselves playing extraordinary roles when one of theminsular, delusional appliance-repair man Roncrosses the line between dreams and active intervention. Glimpsing blonde, mixed race, nine-year-old Rachel Fox one day at her school, Ron immediately falls in love. The child's exceptional beauty has already made her the subject of borderline-suspicious male attention, ranging from an advertising agency to a suitor of her impoverished single mother, Celia. While stalking Rachel, Ron persuades himself that she is the subject of abuse by both Celia and their gay landlord, Mika. Notions of snatching her and transferring her affections to him become increasingly compelling, and he spends time and money transforming his secure basement into a girl's dream bedroom. When a blackout strikes the city, Ron seizes the opportunity to take Rachel. Gowdy's skillful character portraits, enhanced by minutely detailed shifts of attitude and response, include not only the parent and child but also Ron's compromised girlfriend, Nancy. Of the few narrative events, there is a detailed account of the police process and the media's response. Mostly, though, Gowdy focuses on psychological developments: Rachel's gradual involvement with her captors; Celia's manic internal dialogue; Ron's creeping acknowledgement that his protective adoration is in fact something less pure. An assured, perceptive, deftly delivered story."Kirkus Reviews
 
"Love comes up against obsession in Gowdy's seventh novel, and the results are at times chilling . . . Single mother Celia works two jobs and is often forced to bring nine-year-old Rachel along to her nighttime gigs at a piano bar. Much to Celia's dismay, men are already drawn to biracial Rachel's exotic beauty, and she reluctantly turns down a lucrative modeling contract for the girl. Yet she's unaware that appliance repairman Ron Clarkson has an unhealthy fascination with Rachel that's escalating. Convinced that Celia is not a worthy parent for Rachel, Ron abducts the girl, soon involving his needy girlfriend, Nancy, and igniting an extensive investigation . . . frequent glimpses into the childhoods of Ron, Nancy and Celia add depth, revealing the characters' motivations and inviting contemplation of what constitutes appropriate love toward a child . . . [most] compelling are Nancy's conflicted loyalties and Celia's occasional brutal reflections on the sometimes greedy, possessive love between parent and childa love not unlike obsession."Publishers Weekly

"Synopsis" by ,

Rachel is a nine-year-old girl whose luminous beauty inspires every form of admiration. One summer night, when a summer blackout plunges the city into darkness and confusion, her most fervent admirer--a middle-aged appliance repairman named Ron--abducts her from her home. Set over the next two weeks, Helpless moves between the perspectives of Rachel, her mother, Celia, and Ron, whose feelings for Rachel grow less innocent by the day. Tapping into the fear that resides just below the surface of contemporary city life, Helpless is a "brilliantly realized thriller about every parent's nightmare" (Calgary Herald).

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