In this somewhat odd book, a nameless narrator inherits a lot of money, leaves work and takes to investigating the lives of various women. That is, he stalks them. His latest quarry is Frances, a thirty something woman who works successfully as a management consultant. She is intelligent, well-liked, stable and good-looking. The narrator, though obviously a loner, seems to want mainly to simply understand these women. He certainly makes insightful comments about the human condition. There’s an interesting discussion on the essays of Montaigne, for example, and Montaigne’s ideas about lying.
Nevertheless, he does have a well-equipped van, and knows how to use surveillance gear to spy on his victims who are not victims as long as he keeps his distance. When an email from a client company falsely accuses Frances of unprofessional conduct, she is suspended, and our narrator allows himself to talk to her in a cafe. Frances wonders if her boss Will had anything to do with the email. Will ends up dead. Frances has a one night stand, and that guy ... OK no spoilers. The narrator is clearly unhinged by loneliness and the desire to connect and the writing is so good that although we get that he’s a complete weirdo, we sort of want him to succeed - whatever that means to him. The novel ends abruptly with the narrator wanting to know if he has understood Frances correctly and us fearing for her. The writing is skilful. The psychology of the narrator is excellently portrayed. It’s terribly bleak.
- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (1 February 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571335888
- ISBN-13: 978-0571335886
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.6 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 381 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 300,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)