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Thy Neighbor: A Novel Hardcover – August 2, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (August 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670023744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670023745
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,126,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


 
Praise for Thy Neighbor

"Norah Vincent  will make you laugh while she is breaking your heart, and make you feel pity as you recoil in disgust. At once a misanthropic rant, a voyeuristic free for all, and a philosophic thriller, Thy Neighbor is a book that you will tear through in a few days and chew on for a long time thereafter. It's a heady and wonderful read."  —Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

“One of our smartest and most original journalists has changed hats, and the new one fits her perfectly. A raging, jolting, arrestingly hard-edged novel of paranoia and revenge in the suburbs, Thy Neighbor crackles with ferocious energy and virtuosic phrasemaking. If you go for noir, prepare to be plunged into the desperate darkness of a world full of lost souls and lost hope—but keep one eye peeled for the glimmer of light at the far end of the tunnel.”  —Terry Teachout

About the Author

Norah Vincent was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1968. Formerly an op-ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times, she is the author of two previous works of nonfiction, the New York Times bestseller Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man and Voluntary Madness: Lost and Found in the Mental Health-Care System. She lives in New York City.


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Customer Reviews

In Nick's case, it is not an issue of won't, but an issue of can't.
vox libris
The ending was a little surprise, but left as many questions unanswered as it answered.
NoCo
At least it was for me, mostly because of the main character/narrator, Nick.
Mary Lavers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on August 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Now that Norah Vincent has Thy Neighbor out of her system, perhaps she will apply her talent to a more meaningful project. The novel's protagonist, Nick Walsh, is such a caricature of an immature male that I wondered whether Vincent modeled him after someone she felt the need to ridicule. Nick's friend Dave is just as bad. Every significant male character, in fact, is either abusive or emotionally stunted.

The story is told in the first person from Nick's perspective. Vincent doesn't write with a convincing male voice. Nor is Nick a convincing character. He is both extremely shallow and intensely self-analytical, two conflicting qualities that do not belong in the same persona. Although Nick is self-deprecating to the point of being self-eviscerating, his descriptions of himself read as though they are being supplied by a third party -- which, of course, they are.

Nick's personality is a checklist of male stereotypes. He is self-absorbed. He fails to clean up after himself. He doesn't know how to take a proper interest in women. He doesn't listen. Although he wants to feel loved and appreciated, getting laid is his defining desire. He is intimidated by any woman who has a brain -- like his sex buddy Monica. While Vincent takes shots at needy overweight women and the "hausfraus" who watch Ellen and Oprah (her words, not mine), immature and abusive men remain the bulls-eye in her satirical dartboard.

Why is Nick such a mess? We are well into the novel before Vincent reveals Nick's dark secret, but by then I didn't care. The reader suffers through many chapters filled with Nick's tedious introspection while waiting for something interesting to happen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lavers on September 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm surprised more reviews of this book don't start with "I didn't finish this book." I know I almost didn't. It isn't that it isn't good, it's that the beginning is SO hard to get into. At least it was for me, mostly because of the main character/narrator, Nick.

Nick Walsh is possibly the least heroic character in recent literary memory. His back story reads like the origin story of a superhero. His parents died in a gory murder-suicide, leaving him behind to live in their family home and wallow in his grief. Except that a superhero would have wrapped up his wallowing at some point and become a vigilante do-gooder, bent on justice. Nick spends a decade as an aimless boozehound whose self-obsessed ramblings read like the early drafts of a graduate thesis about himself.

He eventually turns to his own kind of vigilantism in the form of wire-tapping his neighbour's houses and listening to their conversations. Not surprisingly he discovers some scandalous things about his neighbours but he's not exactly Batman. He's still just a jerk determined to make his life as meaningless as possible.

I'm still not sure how to feel about this book. Sure the plot wraps up in ways that are skillful and, from a literary standpoint, I want to say that the "ends justify the means." But do they? The character of Nick Walsh does discover secrets about his parents' deaths by listening to his neighbors, but I'm not sure that's enough for me to get over how unlikable he is at the start of the novel.

For more reviews please visit my blog, Cozy Little Book Journal.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through GoodReads and NetGalley in exchange for an honest (though not necessarily favourable) review. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By N. Blackburn on August 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I found this book difficult on multiple levels. First, I thought this book was written in a detached manner. I found I could never completely connect to any of the characters which didn't allow me to warm up to the book in general. Second, the book was extremely gratuitous in graphic language and scenes. Granted this is very important to the storyline and the character of Nick, but the constant reference beat me down and almost came across that it was much more of a shock factor. Although I did finish the book, I thought it really dragged on. I have read some other reviews of the book that said that, although they liked the book, they couldn't put it down almost because it was like a train wreck, I didn't have that same issue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NoCo on September 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
At times I wanted to return it to the library unread. The author takes forever to develop Nick's character and WAY overdoes it and falls way short in developing the other characters, none of whom you will like (not a requirement for a good read, but that is just a disgusting fact of this book). No good guys or gals in this book and very dark subjects. The style of writing where he is talking to himself at length and others are talking - the back and forth conversation between Nick and "Monica" just didn't work to draw me in and keep me interested in this book, did not seem to relate to normal human conversations. The ending was a little surprise, but left as many questions unanswered as it answered. Can't recommend. .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laura A. Robinson on February 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This was a bleak, and ultimately pointless book. None of the characters acted like anyone I've met on this planet and were by and large repulsive people. The dialogue between the mother and father especially, seemed forced,and unrealistic. I kept waiting for some insight and something I could relate to as a human being, and was absolutely disappointed. I can't imagine family members ever reacting to the death of a loved one as two characters in this book do. Overall, it seemed like another cliched portrait of soul-less suburbia, when actually it was the author's writing that lacked soul, and color, and life. After the first few pages I rushed through the book to get it over with. I'm sorry I spent that long with it.
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