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Unraveling Oliver

Bewertungen:
3.5/5 (19 Bewertungen)
Länge:
253 Seiten
4 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Feb 6, 2018
ISBN:
9781501191282
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

A chilling, elegantly crafted, and psychologically astute exploration of human behavior and the nature of evil.

“I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”

Oliver Ryan, a handsome, charismatic, and successful man, is happily married to his wife, Alice, who illustrates the award-winning children’s books he writes and devotedly cares for him in their comfortable suburban home. Their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease—until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers blows to Alice that render her comatose.

As Alice hovers between life and death in her hospital bed, the couple’s circle of friends, neighbors, and acquaintances try to understand what could have driven Oliver to commit such an astonishing act of savagery. Oliver tells his story, peeling away the layers to reveal a life of shame, envy, breath-taking deception, and masterful manipulation. As details about his past catch up with him, even he is in for a shock.

Unraveling Oliver is a complex, disturbing, and brilliantly written page-turner about how and why a human being transforms into a sociopath.
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Feb 6, 2018
ISBN:
9781501191282
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

Liz Nugent has worked in Irish film, theater, and television for most of her adult life. She is an award-winning writer of radio and television drama and has written critically acclaimed short stories both for children and adults, as well as the bestselling novels Unraveling Oliver and Lying in Wait. She lives in Dublin. Visit her at LizNugent.ie or follow her on Twitter at @Lizzienugent.


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3.7
19 Bewertungen / 24 Rezensionen
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  • (3/5)
    How well do you really know anyone? Would you know if your friend... your co-worker or your husband was secretly a sociopath? Liz Nugent has woven a story that will leave you pondering those questions. The first line of the book and the cover sold me on reading it. I wasn't as impressed with it as I thought I would be and that was a bit of a disappointment but it did have some good twists on the plot. I just wish that it hadn't reviewed the back life of every character in the book and taken so long to get there.
  • (2/5)
    This is not a psychological thriller and if you are expecting one, you will be sorely disappointed. This story is all about character development - and I think the author is pretty clear about that from the description that was given. As mentioned by the blurb, the story is told from multiple perspectives - friends, neighbours, acquaintances, and Oliver all give their impressions. I think the problem with this novel was that the most interesting part of it was that first line. The story just didn't have the juiciness I was expecting. The author puts in a lot of effort to make the reader understand Oliver's character, and to a certain degree, I think there is success. There were times when I really did feel sorry for him and what he has gone through. However, there just seemed this disconnect between the power of that initial line in the story and the events and perspectives that followed it. I also really didn't care for the other perspectives. They were really just boring, and the only person I really cared about was Oliver. In the end, this novel just wasn't unique or interesting enough for my liking. For those reasons, I'm giving this a 2/5 stars.

    I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    Found Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent to be addictive reading, even though I'm getting tired of this kind of psychological fiction where the reader doesn't find out what happened in the past until the end but events of the past are constantly referred to throughout the course of the novel.
  • (5/5)
    This was such a well thought out book---with so many points of view crossing each other with their differences which the reader gets to watch--seeing what they miss about events. Very cleverly developed - things kept happening that I wasn't expecting and that was....great!
  • (4/5)
    Familiarity certainly breeds contempt in Oliver, and as shocking as his explosion of violence towards his long suffering wife is, equally shocking is his nonchalance, lack of remorse, and absence of conscience. He is sorry, but only that he lost control.How much of this is nurture, how much nature, is left for us to decide as the author sits us in the psychoanalyst's chair to explore his past and present, through Oliver's eyes as well as those of various associates, delving into a detached, horribly frustrated childhood and complex adult relationships, with a seemingly normal marriage and successful career hiding convoluted external arrangements and affairs, and of course a secret which could bring his carefully constructed house down.That he leaves his wife in a coma is interesting as the author could just as easily had her die, yet the coma means she remains a live presence that he still can't shake from his hatred and resentment, and there is sadness in the clear understanding that he never loved her, even hated her, despite and maybe even because of her devotion to him, yet manipulated and controlled her as a useful prop, as with everything and everyone around him.What would the neighbours think of his violence? Oliver really couldn't care less, but reveal a secret which would publicly expose him as a plagiarist and a charlatan, well that's worth killing for.
  • (4/5)
    Oliver Ryan is an author who one day, out of the blue, beats his wife, Alice, into a coma. The book is told from different viewpoints, including Oliver's, as we unravel what led up to what seemed like a very unexpected attack. This is a really cleverly plotted book, as it all unfolds gradually, leading up to a moment of realisation when it becomes clear why Oliver has reacted the way he has. It took a little getting into as I got used to each voice but it didn't take too long before I was engrossed in what is quite a short read. A very good psychological story and I hope Liz Nugent writes more of the same.
  • (4/5)
    A very quick and enjoyable read - only took me 5 train journeys! I'm not sure how memorable this will prove to be but is certainly entertaining. Although I didn't find it hard to remember who the different characters were, there was little variation in tone as the story shifted between different perspectives.
  • (4/5)
    Oliver, a self-centered man with few feelings for anyone else, was one hell of a bad guy.However, can you blame him? He was sent to boarding school when he was six by a father who gave him no paternal support and left him with the knowledge that his mother was a prostitute. His father never visited or communicated with him in any way other than to exact the sheer amount of hatred he felt for his son.When Oliver beats his wife of several decades, years later, and puts her into a coma, the book goes back and takes a look at Oliver's life. Told from many viewpoints, including the priest who ran the school, and none from his real father, it tells a very eye opening story.I could not believe some of the thoughts and actions of this man. And I can say, I was hooked from the very beginning. How can someone be this mean? Can I really feel sorry for him? Was this nature or nurture?A story that I found I could not put down as the real reason Oliver slapped Alice is not revealed until the end. A story that I just had to get to the bottom of this guy.Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books, Scott Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
  • (5/5)
    Dark and despairingOliver Ryan, known as Vincent Dax, successful Children's writer, all but abondoned child, grows up in a boarding school with no love and no friends, until he meets Michael Condell and his sister Laura.Who Oliver really is is unveiled chapter by chapter until we come to know him--and thoroughly dislike him.His egocentric outlook, his destructiveness born of his abandonment and his desire for a father's love and acknowledgement, are the ingredients that meld together forming him. The stewpot of his angst.I think Barney is my hero and it's sad that Alice never will know him.Unravelling Oliver almost unravelled me. Brilliantly written, each chapter presents the various characters and their viewpoint on Oliver's Life. Surprise begets more surprise.A gritty, emotionally charged, psychological novel that provides little pleasure but lots of fascination. I was compelled to finish it even as I was repelled by Oliver. And that compulsion is what had me giving this 5 stars rather than 3.A NetGalley ARC
  • (4/5)
    I received a complimentary copy from Goodreads' FirstReads in exchange for a review.From outward appearances, they seemed to be a golden couple living the perfect life. Oliver Ryan was a handsome and charismatic best-selling author of children's books and Alice, his loving wife, the gifted illustrator of his books. Then, one evening, the unthinkable happened. So begins this compelling psychological thriller.I enjoyed this debut novel. I was drawn in from the very first line, "I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her." The writing style is very readable. Also, chapters are short and written from the alternating perspectives of the main characters, which really helps in getting to know them.The title of this novel is apt. It starts with a climax and then the story and Oliver's character "unravels" as his family, friends, and acquaintances give their take on him and the turn of events.
  • (5/5)
    Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for providing me with an e-copy of Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent in exchange for an honest review. The story begins with Oliver Ryan, a best-selling children's author, violently beating his wife, who is also the illustrator of his books. From that point on, the novel goes back in time. Each chapter is narrated by a different person, each involved in the life of Oliver. Unraveling Oliver peels back the layers of Oliver's life, leading up to the domestic violence, revealing how his life brought him to sink to such a level.. I highly recommend this book, especially if you like reading psychological suspense. There is much to enjoy here. A captivating read.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of the best books I have read for a very long time.This book is set in Ireland and France told by several peoples point of view. Oliver is a successful writer and one day he snaps and beats up his wife.This is the story of how Oliver became the person he is.As the reader you go from hating him to feeling sorry for him, book is well written with a twist at the end.Twist for meIt is Oliver's daughter but he doesn't want to tell her as he wants to protect her.
  • (5/5)
    I had not heard of Liz Nugent's debut book, Unraveling Oliver, until I read about it in a publisher's newsletter. It was quickly added to my TBR list after I read the premise - and the accolades. It was Ireland's Crime Novel of the Year in 2014. That cover image is absolutely perfect - cracks in a picture, peeling back of layers, what lies beneath that facade?The first line of the book is killer...."I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her."Oliver Ryan is a successful children's book author and is happily married to his devoted wife Alice. So what would possess him to beat her into a coma? And that is the question at the heart of Unraveling Oliver. Who is Oliver really? What does the polished exterior he presents to the world hide?Through Oliver's own ruminations and additional points of view from neighbours, friends and others from his life, we slowly see how and why he's come to be the way he is over fifty years. Each point of view was really well written. And can I say, I unexpectedly felt pity for him as I learned more and more. Nugent does a brilliant job of manipulating the reader's thoughts and emotions as the story progresses.The publisher has promoted Unraveling Oliver promoted as a psychological suspense novel. I agree that it's an addicting, chilling exploration of a darkly drawn character. But, we know the end already and are working our way back to the beginning of the end. A clever, unique book, one I really, really enjoyed.I chose to listen to Unraveling Oliver - and I found myself even more drawn into the story. Sam O'Mahony was the narrator. He has a lovely Irish accent that was easy to listen to and clearly understood. His understated interpretation of Oliver suited the character perfectly. His matter of fact tone is at odds with the horrible things Oliver does, but matches his mindset perfectly. He never raises his voice beyond a calm tone, which makes the revelations all the more chilling.I'm eager to get my hands on her next book - Lying in Wait.
  • (3/5)
    'Unraveling Oliver' is a good, not great start for new novelist Liz Nugent. In it, Oliver, a youngish childrens' book author, inexplicably punches and later assaults his mousy wife, leaving her for dead. This happens very early in the book, which then transitions into chapters written in the voices of his acquaintances, relatives, lovers, ex-schoolmates, neighbors, and others whose lives he touched, for better or worse. It's an interesting approach.Enough breadcrumbs are dropped throughout the chapters to allow for an educated guess on where it's all heading. Oliver isn't quite the man people think he is, or even the man he himself thinks he is. He's worse. I like the fact that the author took her time painting the picture of this guy so that readers kept an open mind as more of his personal history and personality were revealed. The "unraveling" in the title definitely has a couple different meanings.The writing was decent, the plot and construction of the book were very good, but the ending wasn't very satisfying.
  • (4/5)
    "It was a very dark tale about neglect, abandonment, grief and lost children."A compelling whydunnit which opens with an internationally successful children's author beating his illustrator wife into a coma. Through half a dozen voices who have encountered him over the years (not friends, "Friends are just people who remind you of your failings"), Oliver's life is deftly revealed to give understanding to, though certainly not justification for, his actions.
  • (5/5)
    I don't know if Oliver was insane or just delusional but this book I most say it was the best story as yet that I have had the privilege of reading and could not put down for a second you just had to read on until the end and so I will say loved this wonderful book characters well thought out and wonderful story lines as well excellent book and my heart felt thanks to the author Liz Nugent for the privilege of reading one of her books so with all that said keep smiling and happy reading to all with love from wee me. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • (4/5)
    3.5 Finished this yesterday and have thought about it on and off since then. The opening is such a grabber, an act of violence seemingly out of the blue, but in intimate situations things seldom work that way. So what caused this, what led up to this? We hear from the many people influenced by the life of Oliver, the people closest to him, the people who knew him in various stages of his life. What makes a man who could act so violently.Makes one think. I felt different ways about Oliver, in different time frames, I actually felt sorry for him for much of this book. Still not sure how I ended up feeling about him by the end, dislike, tinged with pity and an understanding of how he came to be what he was. Not that it excuses anything, he was still the cause of some horrific damage.A good psychological study that will give one much to think about and discuss. Quite good for a first novel and I look forward to her next.
  • (3/5)
    Oliver Ryan has it all, nice house, devoted wife and a glittering career as an author. With Alice his wife as the illustrator, he has created a series of children’s books that have captivated the world. He has had film deals, awards, and accolades galore as well as a comfortable life. After Alice is found on her dining room floor beaten into a coma, that way of life is about to come to an abrupt end because Oliver has a secret that no one knows, a secret that he will go to almost any length to protect.

    As Alice remains in intensive care, people look for the motives behind Oliver’s actions. Shocked friends and family begin to untangle his past life, the extramarital affairs, the deceptions behind his school days and his writing profession. They realise that the Oliver they thought they knew is utterly different to the one that they find before themselves now.

    This is quite a short, sharp ‘why done it’ that is as unsettling as it is shocking at the beginning. I liked the way Nugent used the different people’s perspectives as Oliver’s past was unravelled before our eyes. There were no surprising twists, just the moment where a chance holiday brought the plot full circle, and you had that Ah! moment. Neatly done.
  • (4/5)
    Multiples narratives try to understand why Oliver would brutally attach his wife one evening after dinner. It takes many points of view to assemble the whole of Oliver. A fascinating character study.
  • (4/5)
    A special thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.Liz Nugent's dark and compelling thriller opens with the perfect hook: "I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her." Told from multiple points, Nugent's debut is a chilling exploration into the nature of evil. Oliver Ryan is a handsome, charismatic, and successful children's author. He is married to Alice, who illustrates his award-winning books. She is a devoted wife, and their life is one of envy and privilege until one evening, Oliver knocks her into unconsciousness and beats her into a coma hovering between life and death. Those who know the couple are shocked and are trying to understand what could have driven Oliver to attack his wife so savagely. With each chapter, the story unfolds, and the layers of Oliver's character are peeled away to reveal his manipulation, deception, and shame.Nugent has a fresh approach to this genre—there is no question of whodunit, and there is no doubt as to what the crime was. Instead she takes the reader on a ride to figure out what could have driven someone to commit such a horrific act. For a debut, this is a solid effort, and I can't wait to see what Nugent writes next.
  • (2/5)
    I won a copy of this book from Goodreads.I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this book. I didn’t really like it but for some reason I couldn’t stop reading it. I just couldn’t put it down even though I didn’t really like any of the characters or care about what was going to happen. I guess that means I liked the writing? Also Eugene. I did like Eugene, so I suppose I liked one character.There was nothing really shocking or surprising about this novel. I pretty much seen everything coming. I was very underwhelmed and a bit disappointed. I may try something else by Liz Nugent since I liked the writing in this one. Maybe this story just wasn’t for me.
  • (5/5)
    The book, just as the title leads you to suspect, is about Oliver “unraveling”, coming unglued, losing it. Whatever you’d like to call it. The book is told from alternating perspectives and it bounces from past to present. At first I had to really try and make sure I kept everyone straight, even had to flip back a chapter or two once or twice to refresh my mind but this all sorts itself out fairly quickly.I enjoyed the story, thought it was told well.
  • (2/5)
    The opening line - “I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.” - is one of the best and will probably be one of the most talked about opening lines in fiction this year. Unfortunately, for me, the story's execution did not live up to that opening line. We meet Oliver in the first chapter as he tells us, in an analytical way, what he has just done to his wife, Alice. This chapter packs a punch. I immediately wanted to know more about Oliver and Alice. I wanted to understand their relationship and see the escalation leading to this event. I sort of got that, eventually, in a round about way. The second chapter is someone else's POV. Then yet another person. And so on. We have a whole lot of viewpoint characters, with their narrations all in first person. The bulk of these chapters takes us away from the immediacy of the story, and often away from Oliver. For instance, we meet one woman who plays a small but significant role in the outcome, but her narrating chapters are often long and personal to her, not Oliver or even Alice. We meet the woman's father when he was a young man, and we go through her childhood, all with far more detail than necessary. We don't get back to the present until late in the book, when the pieces finally start coming together and we see how Oliver's choices led him to where he was at the story's opening. But the great revelation had several problems for me. First, it was easy to figure out where the whole thing was going, so I already knew the twist. The rest is impossible to talk about without giving spoilers. I'll just say that, given Oliver's notoriety, the other person involved would have had to live in a cave to miss the sensation surrounding him. And Alice had to be the least curious, biggest doormat of a wife I've ever come across.And that leads me to another issue I had. We get very little sense of Alice as a person. We spend time with Oliver's ex-girlfriend, getting to know her well. We spend time with Alice's ex-boyfriend, though we learn far more about him than we do about Alice. We spend time with a man who hadn't seen Oliver in decades. We spend time with Oliver's ex-girlfriend's brother. Yet Alice does not have a narrating part, which I think is unfortunate. Yes, she is in a coma in the present timeline, but most of the story and the narrating parts occur in the past. Alice feels like a meek shadow throughout. I have no idea how she felt about her husband. Did she really love him? Did she suspect him of being a sociopath? Her viewpoint would have added tremendous depth and insight. So, in the end, I was as uninspired as Alice's character. Like Oliver, I expected more of a reaction.*I received an advance ebook copy from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.*
  • (3/5)
    When a novel opens with the line: I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her, you know the author is banking on shock and surprise to keep your attention. It can be a mistake if the rest of the novel falls flat, but in the case of Unraveling Oliver, author Liz Nugent never slows down. Oliver is a world famous children’s book author and Alice is his docile and loving wife. She also illustrates his books. As shown by the first line, he hits her. Not too far into the novel he has beaten her into a coma, leaving everyone around them to wonder what could have provoked him into such a rage?From this brutal beginning Nugent begins the process of, yes…unraveling Oliver. She goes back to his lonely, painful childhood and how he translated that childhood into a beloved series of children’s books. While the many twists and turns of Oliver’s life stretch the fabric of Unraveling Oliver a little thin, it is still a good fall thriller read.