Synopses & Reviews
From a powerful new voice in literary fiction comes an intense psychological thriller in the tradition of Donna Tartt, Stewart O’Nan, and Patrick McGrath, about a boy’s struggle with his inner demons.
• Exciting new literary talent: At just twenty-eight years old, Brian DeLeeuw has worked in publishing in both London and New York City, where he is an editor at the literary magazine Tin House. In This Way I Was Saved was acquired in a heated auction.
• Haunting subject: A dark, compelling story that skirts the edges of the supernatural, In This Way I Was Saved evokes the best in edgy psychological horror with overtones of eerie cerebral pyrotechnics. With its dense web of family secrets, its undercurrent of violence, and its brilliant evocation of a troubled young person’s point of view, it has earned comparisons to Donna Tartt.
• Compelling story: Set in the wealthy environs of New York City’s Central Park West, the story begins in 1994, when Luke Nightingale is six and his parents are finalizing their divorce. Luke’s fragile, volatile mother Claire is the last daughter of a crumbling blueblood family; her mother died by her own hand.
The novel is narrated by Luke’s cynical, cruelly perceptive, and sometimes dangerously violent alter ego Daniel—who could be Luke’s imaginary friend, or something else entirely, something implacable, murderous, and evil. A novel about mothers and sons, the dangers of the imagination, the precariousness of sanity, the terrors of childhood, and the temptations of power—In This Way I Was Saved is a stunning debut by a writer of limitless promise.
"DeLeeuw's spellbinding debut is told from the point of view of a being who assumes the persona and desires of a boy's repressed self. The mysterious narrator encounters six-year-old Luke in Central Park, where Luke gives him a life and a name, Daniel. Daniel has no memory of consciousness before meeting Luke, but as the story moves forward into Luke's college years, it becomes clear that he has a history distinct from Luke's own. He quickly learns that he's stronger when Luke is troubled, and, luckily, there's much in Luke's life to distress him. Meanwhile, Claire, Luke's divorced mother, runs a publishing company founded by her mother, and when Luke comes across a novel about a doppelgãnger the company published decades earlier, Daniel realizes it may offer clues to his own secrets and persuades Luke to destroy it, much to Claire's despair. DeLeeuw delivers a neat bundling of the classic story of a spirit possessing an innocent with the Jungian shadow self, but in the end readers will be somewhat disappointed that he neglects to answer some of the more intriguing questions he poses about Luke's family." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"...[A] riveting exploration of the dark side of self....Suspenseful and terrifying, this tale about one's shadow self running rampant is highly recommended." Library Journal
"DeLeeuw debuts with a strange tale seething with disturbing psychological overtones....Hitchcock would have loved the premise." Kirkus Reviews
On a chilly November afternoon, six-year-old Luke Nightingale's life changes forever. On the playground across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he encounters Daniel. Soon the boys are hiding from dinosaurs and shooting sniper rifles. Within hours, Luke and his mother, Claire, are welcoming Daniel into their Upper East Side apartment — and their lives.
Daniel and Luke are soon inseparable. With his parents divorcing, Luke takes comfort in having a near-constant playmate. But there's something strange about Daniel, who is more than happy to bind himself to the Nightingales. The divorce has cut Luke's father out of the picture, and as his increasingly fragile mother struggles with the insidious family depression, Daniel — shrewd, adventurous, and insightful — provides Luke both recreation and refuge.
As Luke grows from a child to an adolescent to a young man, he realizes that as much as his mother needs him, Daniel needs him more. Jealous of Luke's other attachments, Daniel moves from gestures of friendship into increasingly sinister manipulations. In the end, Luke finds himself in a daily battle for control of his own life — wondering whether he or Daniel will emerge victorious.
Brian DeLeeuw's debut is a haunting and provocative story of a family's love and madness that you will not be able to put down.
From a powerful new voice in literary fiction comes an intense psychological thriller. In This Way I Was Saved is a novel about mothers and sons, the dangers of the imagination, the precariousness of sanity, and the temptations of power.
About the Author
Brian DeLeeuw has an MFA from The New School and a BA from Princeton University. A frequent contributor to CITY magazine and Thisrecording.com, he has worked at HarperCollins UK and is currently an assistant editor at Tin House magazine. He lives in New York City, where he was born and raised.