Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent
Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, Alice, who illustrates his award-winning children’s books and gives him her unstinting devotion. Their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease – enviable until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice and beats her into a coma.
In the aftermath, as everyone tries to make sense of his astonishing act of savagery, Oliver tells his story. So do those whose paths he has crossed over five decades. What unfolds is a story of shame, envy, breath-taking deception and masterful manipulation.
Only Oliver knows the lengths to which he has had to go to get the life to which he felt entitled. But even he is in for a shock when the past catches up with him.
This is another great book. I’m not sure I can do it justice. It’s only 231 pages long, which goes to show you don’t need a story to be long and drawn out to be absolutely brilliant.
It’s the thought that goes into every sentence. The very first one of the book will hook you in.
I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.
And from there you will just keep reading. Keep turning the pages.
The chapters are from the points of view of Oliver and from people who knew Oliver in his distant past and recent past/current day. It really is a story of unravelling and not just of the person that Oliver is but how that day, where Alice was beaten into a coma, came to be.
We learn of Oliver’s childhood, his youth and past loves. We learn of Alice’s family and her loves. We learn how they all cross over and we learn it all in only 231 pages.
It’s wonderful. Clever. Uncomfortable at times. Sparse and neat. It’s everything all wrapped up neatly. This is writing at its best when you don’t need to drag it out any longer.
I could easily see this being made on the screen somewhere.
Another must read from me.
Have you read it? What did you think?