- Paperback: 348 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (May 1 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780446582865
- ISBN-13: 978-0446582865
- ASIN: 0446582867
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 136 g
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,017,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Drowning People Paperback – May 27 2010
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"EXCEPTIONAL...A VERY IMPRESSIVE FIRST NOVEL...HOOKS YOU UNTIL THE END". -- The Times (London)
From the Back Cover
My wife of more than forty-five years shot herself yesterday afternoon. At least that is what the police assume, and I am playing the part of grieving widower with enthusiasm and success. Of course I know that she did nothing of the kind....It was I who killed her.
With this startling confession of murder, James Farrell, the seventy-year-old narrator of THE DROWNING PEOPLE, takes the reader on a long journey into the past, a maelstrom of deeply buried secrets and betrayals, that reveals the ferocious, frightening power of first love. For it was decades ago that James and a young woman named Ella Harcourt fell cataclysmically in love -- and unwittingly set off a chain of events that would reverberate violently for years to come.
Heralded as one of the most electrifying international literary debuts in years, THE DROWNING PEOPLE introduces us to an extraordinary new voice from an exciting young author.
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Perhaps one of the main flaws of the novel is that even though it is set in the 1990's, the dialogue and mannerisms are definitely nineteenth century and therefore, it's hard to fully get into the dialogue these people use. However, the central plot is rather mesmerizing, and although the true villain of the piece is rather obvious, Mason takes his time in revealing the identity, and when it comes, it is more "tragic" than "surprising." I agree that the central characters are very unsympathetic, merely victims of their own lusts, desires, and inconsideration of other people they are supposedly close to. Ella takes Charles away from Sarah just to show you can; then James takes Ella away from Charles, and then enter gay Eric, whose love for James seems the most genuine in the book. Alas, Eric's fate is pretty obvious, and after his untimely departure, he is merely a skeletal shadow, obscured by James' continued obsession (not love) with the exasperating and ultimately demented Ella. James is rather self-pitying, and even though in the beginning we know he has murdered his wife, you have to wonder why he even stayed married to her for forty-five years.
A dark, brooding expose, a character study, it offers very little suspense or chills; it is a cozy, wordy foray into the triangle of love, written by an obviously talented young man.
If he can remember to give his readers a firm understanding not only of the characters, but of the times in which they live, he just may be a great writer.
The story is well crafted and the characters believable. Many of the other reviewers have criticised the novel for being too wordy, and Mr Manson is certainly infatuated with the English language, but I don't think this detracts too much from the work. The story becomes more and more predictable as it progresses, and again this has been a criticism, but I think it is more a deliberate plot device, slowly drawing the reader in. Whereas the ending is not a surprise by the time it arrives, it has a punch nonetheless.
If I have a criticism of the book, it is that I had some real issues in placing the story in any particular time. It almost reads as if it is set at the turn of the century, but it is clearly not. At one point I thought it was set in the 60s, but this does not add up when you consider how long the main character has been married. But it is a small criticism, and doesn't really distrct from the enjoyment of the book.
Yes, it is impressive. Wordy and predictable maybe, but still a very enjoyable read, and I do recommend it.
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