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The Interloperby Antoine Wilson
Synopses & Reviews
A novel about obsession that makes for obsessive reading.
All Owen Patterson wants is an normal life, a happy marriage, and a stable family. But following the brutal and random murder of his brother-in-law, that dream is shattered. A year later, his wife is still in mourning and his in-laws won't talk about anything but their dead son.
The murderer, Henry Joseph Raven, has been put in prison, but as far as Owen is concerned, prison isnt punishment enough. He embarks on a quest to "balance the scales of justice," writing letters to Henry Raven under the pseudonym Lily Hazelton. His plan: to seduce the murderer, make him fall in love with his fictional correspondent, and then break his heart. From one letter to the next, Lily Hazelton develops into a curious amalgam of details from Owens imagination, snatches of his difficult childhood, and memories of his cousin Eileen, a suicide who was his first true love. Not entirely in control of his own creation, Owen dives headfirst into the correspondence, only to find himself caught in the trap hes set for Henry Raven.
Bringing together an epistolary game of cat and mouse with the harrowing record of one mans psychological collapse, The Interloper is a compelling and original debut from a bold new writer.
"As assured and sumptuously written as any first novel Ive encountered—Antoine Wilsons prose sings, and the story he tells here is both clever and compelling. This is writing at its very best." — T. Coraghessan Boyle
"In Wilson's pleasantly creepy debut novel, Owen Patterson, a Southern California software manual writer, believes that the 'soil' of his marriage has been 'poisoned' by the aftereffects of his brother-in-law's murder. The killer, Henry Joseph Raven, murdered CJ while Owen and Patty were on their honeymoon. Raven received a 'twenty-odd-year' sentence, but Patty and her parents, a year later, are still in mourning. Owen, meanwhile, comes up with a convoluted plan for revenge: he creates alter ego Lily Hazelton, a lovelorn teacher's aide whose identity is a morass of tortured bits from Owen's past — chiefly his infatuation with now-dead cousin (and first love and sexual partner) Eileen — and writes to Raven in prison. Though the plan is never quite concrete, Owen aims to use Lily to seduce Raven through an exchange of letters, and then deny him the object of his desire, thus destroying Raven as CJ was destroyed. But as Owen gets more involved, it becomes apparent the scheme has more to do with Eileen than CJ. Though the plot takes some predictable turns as Owen's obsession darkens and the James Cain — style ending is telegraphed from the opening pages, the pathos, delusion and hope festering within Owen will carry readers through." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Antoine Wilsons work has appeared in The Paris Review, Best New American Voices, StoryQuarterly, and other periodicals. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and recipient of the Carol Houck Smith Fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. He is a contributing editor of A Public Space. This is his first novel. He lives in Los Angeles.
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