For some unknown reason, the cover design of the copy of this book that I have is subtly different from what is pictured below. It also fails to cite earlier editions--even though I KNOW that this novel was released first in hardcover in the US.Murr, Naeem. The Boy. New York: Mariner, 1998.Summary
: Sean blames the boy that he fostered who may also be his son on the deaths of his children Megan and Liam as well as his estrangement with his wife. Since leaving Sean's home, the boy has run away from the charity home and become a street hustler, becoming a sinister, emotional lynchpin of a different sort for everyone around him. When Sean finally confronts this apparently soulless boy who becomes what those around him most want, he kills him.Comments
: Deliberately obscure but nonetheless tremendously compelling, the boy is a British incarnation of the Dennis Cooper variety, oversexed but essentially empty, looking futilely for some meaning with which to fill the void, the object to other mens' subject. This is hypermodern disillusionment at its very best, and though the characters do get awfully preachy at times, and the prose gets unnecessarily over-the-top in places, there are some elegant touches that put Murr's debut novel quite the cut above the average. A little thrill, a little grotesque. Not too much. I thought the juxtaposition of the father, who occupies a single lifestyle lie, and the son, who occupies many was especially well-done, and there are a few occasions where their mannerisms mirror. Also, the boy's mother is an interesting character, hopelessly compartmentalized. The author himself is half Irish, half Lebanese, but, unfortunately, this interesting cultural heritage is not overtly exploited in this novel--more's the pity. Class is explored to some extent, but not ethnicity or race. In fact, you'd never guess from the story itself that the author were anything other than the whitest of breads. *sighs* Notes
: trade paperback, 1st printingRating
- A solid, though not timeless, example of so-called "blank fiction." Well worth checking out for what it does well.