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The Interloper Paperback – Bargain Price, May 17, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Wilson's pleasantly creepy debut novel, Owen Patterson, a Southern California software manual writer, believes that the "soil" of his marriage has been "poisoned" by the aftereffects of his brother-in-law's murder. The killer, Henry Joseph Raven, murdered CJ while Owen and Patty were on their honeymoon. Raven received a "twenty-odd-year" sentence, but Patty and her parents, a year later, are still in mourning. Owen, meanwhile, comes up with a convoluted plan for revenge: he creates alter ego Lily Hazelton, a lovelorn teacher's aide whose identity is a morass of tortured bits from Owen's past—chiefly his infatuation with now-dead cousin (and first love and sexual partner) Eileen—and writes to Raven in prison. Though the plan is never quite concrete, Owen aims to use Lily to seduce Raven through an exchange of letters, and then deny him the object of his desire, thus destroying Raven as CJ was destroyed. But as Owen gets more involved, it becomes apparent the scheme has more to do with Eileen than CJ. Though the plot takes some predictable turns as Owen's obsession darkens and the James Cain–style ending is telegraphed from the opening pages, the pathos, delusion and hope festering within Owen will carry readers through. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Owen, the narrator of this taut début novel, is a newlywed and a writer of software manuals—"a solid B," in his own estimation. This happy sense of stable mediocrity is demolished during his honeymoon, when his wife’s brother is murdered, and she, in her grief, becomes emotionally distant. After the killer receives a lenient prison sentence, Owen, hoping to "unpoison the soil" of his marriage, contrives an intricate scheme to inflict what he considers appropriate psychological damage on the killer. He resolves to hide his efforts from his wife until the strategy succeeds—"like planning a surprise party"—at which point they can finally begin rebuilding their lives. But while his wife’s grief begins to wane, Owen’s obsession with his victim grows. It’s clear from the start that Owen is doomed, but the queasy thrills of the novel derive from watching the scheme—and the marriage—unravel.
Copyright © 2007 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker

Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Handsel Books (May 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590512634
  • ASIN: B005M4MNBS
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,480,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Antoine Wilson is the author of the novels PANORAMA CITY (2012) and THE INTERLOPER (2007). His work has appeared in The Paris Review, StoryQuarterly, and Best New American Voices, among other publications, and he is a contributing editor of A Public Space. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and recipient of a Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, he lives and surfs in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
First of all, The Interloper is just an amazingly fun and gripping read. It's fast-paced, or perhaps it's that the twists and turns keep arriving before you can get comfortable. The book explores the unsatisfying nature of justice, the disruption of tragedy and the unpredictability of poking a tiger in a cage - dark matter in a surprisingly funny way. It's a real testament to Wilson's skill that his characters invent characters within the novel that have carefully intended degrees of believability. Owen Patterson has to be a full, rich and complete fictional person to create a Lily Hazelton who is just a hair short for the story to work. And work it does!
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This is probably the best first novel to hit the book stores since Brett Easton Ellis's "Less Than Zero" in 1985. It's a bona fide page turner.

The cover blurb sets the reader up to expect a revenge novel: The protagonist is out to avenge his brother-in-law's senseless murder, a loss that is destroying two families. Antoine Wilson's story takes the form of a modern epistolary novel--one that depends on letters to set out the plot. But book has much more in store. There are some nice plot twists that make the book a compelling "read". While the writing style isn't immortal literature, the simple, direct narrative keeps bumping along with a few thigh-slapping jokes thrown in.

There are a few lapses of editing, and some of the voices don't seem quite right (hard boiled criminals aren't usually literary types). However, these are minor glitches in a great first novel.

This is an excellent "beach book" or a way to happily "kill" a trans-continental flight.
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Format: Paperback
In THE INTERLOPER the first 50 pages are enough to pull you in, but it's the last 50 pages that won't let you go. Much like in John O'Hara's story of self destruction from the early 20th century (Appointment in Samarra), you know the main character is in a downward spiral and yet you just can't help but follow him down while your better self is urging him to correct his mistakes and move on, and the whole while you know it won't help. This train is destined to come off of the tracks and you can't help but watch. Childhood voids and first loves combine with recent tragedies and a skewed sense of justice to bring a disaster that you fully expect and have no way to anticipate. The resulting wreck is an artful masterpiece that is complete in it's inability to satisfy anything but the reader's curiosity about how it all ends.
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Format: Paperback
What kind of man describes himself as "a solid B?" That's what the main character, Owen Patterson, does in the first paragraph of Antoine Wilson's debut novel, "The Interloper." You've got to ask yourself what's wrong with someone who'd say something like that. He arouses your curiosity. There seems to be something not quite right about this fellow, and it turns out you're right.

Antoine Wilson has written a very intriguing and entertaining novel. It's a taut, fast-paced psychological thriller about grief, revenge, and obsession gone awry. If you're looking for something to keep your attention riveted for a day on the beach, or a long plane flight, this might be the perfect book. It's a short, intense, psychological rollercoaster ride--the effect is pure unadulterated enjoyment!

The writing is unusually good for a debut novel--it is sparse and fresh with nothing adorned or contrived. Laugh-out-loud dark humor pops up unexpectedly throughout offering welcomed relieve to balance the growing tension. The author's writing style seems to straddle nicely the space between popular and literary fiction. Clearly, the author aim is to entertain, but he does so with extraordinarily good style. If you've got twelve minutes to view and listen to an eerily inviting and well-done online video clip where the sound track is taken word-for-word from chapter three of this novel, Google "interloper antoine wilson chapter three" and you'll find the Google Video link right near the top. It's a well-done video! Although I'd finished the book by the time I heard about this little film, I found listening to it greatly enhanced my appreciation for the author's prose. Evidently, the author's prose sounds better than it reads.
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Format: Paperback
For a first novel, this is a real feat of tonal assurance. It's all of a piece, spooling out of the mind of a steadily more obsessed narrator. Written in a sparse, coiled, ostinato prose, the effect is both creepy and blackly comic. "Dear Mr. Raven... My name is Lily Hazelton and I am interested in writing back-and-forth with an incarcerated man."
It starts as a prison memoir a la Lolita, but turns into an epistolary cross-dressing tale of revenge. (A breakthrough subgenre, I think.) By pretending to be a woman, the hero plans to break the heart of the inmate who murdered his brother-in-law. But there is something just slightly 'off' about this narrator, even during his carefree interludes with his wife, and it prepares you for everything to go horribly wrong.
I thought it was a real page turner.
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Format: Paperback
From The Interloper by Antoine Wilson:

"The word ghost should be like the word pants - it should never be singular. No one leaves behind one ghost. Everyone who dies leaves behind at least as many ghosts as people they knew."

The Interloper was an impromptu read for me. I didn't intend to read it right now, with all the piles of review books accumulating around me like ants at a summer picnic. If my hand hadn't happened to touch this particular book, while I was pawing through a bag of books, who knows when I'd have gotten to it. I didn't get a review copy of it, so there was no sense of true urgency, but I had an idea it had been lauded as a really good read. And far be it from me not to be influenced by that.

So I picked it up, and read the first couple of pages. Then I read a few more pages, then I said "Hell with it. I'm taking this one to my reading lair..." And the rest is history. It was as close to unputdownable as it gets.

The main character, Owen Patterson, is a man whose worsening mental state pulled me in and wouldn't let go. As his obsession grew so did mine, and before I knew it there was no escaping until I knew how all this resolved itself.

What would the average man do if his wife felt tortured by the knowledge her brother's murderer wasn't paying all that stiff a price for his crime, if the pain and sadness of it had turned her into a person he no longer recognized, and he felt himself powerless to help?

The average man may not be willing to go to the lengths Owen Patterson did, starting up a correspondence with the killer, posing as a beautiful young woman, trying to win his heart and then break it, just as his wife's heart had been broken.
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