Sunday 19 April 2015

Review: Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent
Publisher: Penguin (Ireland)
Release date: 9 April 2015
Rating: ****
Back cover blurb: 'I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her' Alice and Oliver Ryan seen blessed, both in their happy marraige and in their successful working patnership. Their shared life is one of enviable privilege and ease. Enviable until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice and beats her into a coma. Afterwards, 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 decases. It turns out that there is more to Oliver than Alice ever saw. But only he knows what he has done to get the life to which he felt entitled. And even he is in for a shock when his past catches up with him.

Unravelling Oliver is a novel that aims to do exactly that, unravel the character of Oliver Ryan.

From the outset is is quite clear that Oliver Ryan, author of Children's books, is not a particularly likeable man, certainly not loveable.

Married to his illustrator, Alice, it is clear at some point that she must have loved him. You begin to wonder at this point exactly what made Oliver resort to violence as he does at the very beginning of the book.

Each chapter of Unravelling Oliver is told from a different characters perspective, and a different period in time. Now I know some people don't, but I love it when an author does this. It really allows you to get inside each of the characters and learn more about them.

Oliver it seems, had a miserable childhood, sent 'away' to boarding school as soon as he was of age, never really welcomed back to the family home and encouraged to attend university and make a life for himself.

It is whilst at University that we see how Oliver's life begins to change. Here he meets, Laura (the love of his life) and Michael her brother. One summer they decide to take a trip to France to help out on a farm, and this is where a terrible event happens that warps Oliver's already twisted mind even further.

It is hard not to feel sorry for Oliver in certain places in this novel, at least until the full horror of what actually happened in his past is revealed, and then it becomes somewhat more difficult. If his past behaviour was bad, then this is nothing compared to the future and the fate of his wife Alice...

Unravelling Oliver is not a face paced thriller, but a beautifully written psychological thriller that truly shows have Oliver was unravelled.

Unravelling Oliver is available to buy now from Amazon online and all good book shops.
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Thank you to Catherine Ryan Howard at Penguin who sent me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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