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A Face Without A Heart: A Modern-day Version of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray Paperback – July 23, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
The story follows Gary Adrion, an independently wealthy young man who is willingly pressed into posing for Liam Howard, an artist specializing in state-of-the-art holograms. The result is a three dimensional work of art that reflects both the beauty of the model, and the passion of the artist for his subject.
Awed by the hologram, Adrion rashly offers his soul in exchange for the ability to retain his physical beauty. Without realizing it (at first), his wish is granted: but he quickly discovers how high a price he has paid in the bargain. Devoid of his soul, Adrion finds himself robbed of the ability to experience either the pleasures or the ramifications of his actions. As a result, he embarks on an odyssey of sex, drugs and violence in a desperate attempt to feel something, remaining unscarred and unmoved while the hologram takes on the physical ugliness of his actions and the deterioration of his aging. The divorce of the man from the soul leads to a final act of violence and ultimate redemption.
Reed has transformed Wilde's prosaic story into a disturbing, searing indictment of our times, where moral ambivalence values beauty above substance. By choosing to present the story alternately through the eyes of several of the main characters (a device reminiscent of Bram Stoker's "Dracula"), Reed cleverly delivers the immediacy of a first person narrative, while allowing the reader insight in the characters' thoughts, feelings, and motivations: a privilege usually confined to a third person narrative. In other words, Reed has successfully managed to give the reader the best of both worlds.
His prose is alive with startling wordplay and haunting imagery.Read more ›
Like Gray, Adrion finds and loses love, but the object of his affection is an exotic dancer rather than an actress. Gary's unjustified rejection of the dancer launches him into a life of reckless depravity, one filled with meaningless sex, copious drug use, and even murder. The utter emptiness of his lifestyle eats at the fabric of his soul, causing him to loathe his existence, and eventually, to destroy the source of his eternal youth.
Reed does himself, and his excellent source material proud, masterfully juggling multiple viewpoint characters for maximum effect. Each has a distinctive voice, providing a different, but illuminating perspective on the events described. Like Wilde's story, Reed's is a commentary on contemporary life, a mirror held up to catch the images cast by the dark side of modern existence. Like the best books, Reed's goes beyond its narrow subject matter to invite reflection on deeper patterns of human behavior, in this instance, the self-destructive impulses we all must grapple with and master if we wish to stay sane. As such, it constitutes a penetrating morality tale, a journey into the very heart of darkness.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Used in preparing a review of Dorian Gray. Brought the book alive by transferring it to modern times. I recommend!Published on January 7, 2014 by Muddlebe
Although this was originally released in 2000 to rave reviews, the test of the author's work and skill shows as the story is equally moving and relevant today as it was then and... Read morePublished on March 28, 2009 by Kassa
A lot has changed since Oscar Wilde penned the classic "Picture of Dorian Gray", but the heart of the story remains true. Read morePublished on February 16, 2009 by Amazon Customer
Updated version of the "Picture of Dorian Gray". It's very well written (Reed is an excellent author), moves quickly, isn't TOO gruesome and has an interesting supporting cast of... Read morePublished on May 12, 2007 by Wayne M. Malin
I approached Rick Reed's "A Face Without a Heart" prepared to be a little disappointed. All too often even the best writers fall short when they try to update classic stories. Read morePublished on December 26, 2006 by Ruth Sims
Rick R. Reed's A FACE WITOUT A HEART brings THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY into present day Chicago.
The hedonistic pleasures of Gary Adrion leave a trail of shocking... Read more
A Face Without a Heart is Rick R. Reed's masterful retelling of Oscar Wilde's horror classic, The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Read morePublished on May 4, 2006 by Victor J. Banis
When I was a student in the 11th grade a long time back (I'm a final year medical student now, so you do the math), it was part of our curriculum to read the noevl, "The Importance... Read morePublished on February 11, 2002 by Hassan Galadari