Unravelling Oliver

Book Title: Unravelling Oliver

Author: Liz Nugent

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: April 9th 2015

Genre(s): Crime, Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction (Adult)

Pages: 240

Format Received: ARC (eBook)

Goodreads: Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, Alice, who illustrates his award-winning children’s books and gives him her unstinting devotion. Their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease – enviable until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice and beats her into a coma.

In the aftermath, 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 decades. What unfolds is a story of shame, envy, breath-taking deception and masterful manipulation.

Only Oliver knows the lengths to which he has had to go to get the life to which he felt entitled. But even he is in for a shock when the past catches up with him.

My Review: Liz Nugent has done it again!!! What a stunning novel!! I do have to admit that I have read Liz’s novels in the incorrect order; Unravelling Oliver being her first written with Lying in Wait her second, but you know what … it doesn’t matter, they are both fantastic novels which really get beneath the surface of, I think, every single emotion and sin that exists.

‘Breathless’ is a word which springs to mind after reading Unravelling Oliver. The journey from chapter one until the end was so intense I had to hold on tight as I was too scared to stop reading. I think this is a novel which will stay with me for a very long time. The characters and place settings felt so real. It consumed me and wrapped me up into a literary bubble where nothing outside of it mattered. I don’t know how Liz does it, but she does it so well, her novels engulf you – they do me.

There are so many characters in Unravelling Oliver, all of whom you feel that you get to know well. I think a major part of this is down to the novel being written in first person. First person novels for me are always winners. The main character, Oliver is definitely a character of sorts. He is every single sin rolled into one. The opening of the book sees him assaulting his wife, which as a result leaves her in a coma. From this initial action, my first thoughts as a reader was instant dislike, however rolling on from this, each subsequent chapter is a different character from Oliver’s life – past and present – as well as himself, that opens up a much bigger picture of the boy he was as a youngster through to the man he has become. I won’t go into detail about the chapters of his life as I think for those of you who have not read the book it would be unfair to spoil what will result in a great read, but one thing I will say is that Oliver Ryan is a character I wish to never cross paths with due to a major underlying reason.

About the Author: In her early career Liz Nugent worked as a stage manager in theatres in Ireland and toured internationally. More recently, Liz has written extensively for radio and television drama. She has been shortlisted for the prestigious Francis McManus Short Story Award. She lives with her husband in her native Dublin. Unravelling Oliver is her first novel. For more information about Liz Nugent, visit her website.


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