Updated on May 19, 2015
9. ‘Unravelling Oliver’ by Liz Nugent
I read this book in one day. I don’t often do that but I wanted to read and review it before it gets published (tomorrow!) and I had a free afternoon (rare), so I blasted through it.
It’s fantastic. You might not expect that from a book that opens with a man explaining, coldly, how he has just beaten his wife into a coma, but it really is. This man is Oliver and the book delves into his history and the various life-changing events that led up to his committing such a dreadful act of domestic violence.
Unravelling Oliver is told from the perspective of many different characters: people who are involved with Oliver at certain points of his life, and who each have a different opinion of him.
The narrative (and Oliver’s life) revolves around a summer spent working in France and the family he met there, who took him in as one of their own until a terrible tragedy befell them. As the story progresses the reader discovers that nothing is quite what it seems and Oliver’s actions become increasingly unsettling.
I loved how the final chapter made me rethink everything. The ending complicates matters, forcing you to think about the nature of violence and whether somebody can truly be considered a monster. The plot contains more twists than a slinky, and the writing is fast-paced and carries you along gleefully, if ‘gleeful’ is a word you can use in association with this book.
Anyway, my point is that this book is great. And you should read it. Preferably in one day.
If you liked my review, why not read the book and let me know what you think?