The End Of Alice Paperback – Feb 18 1997
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The narrator is Chappy, a pedophile who's been locked up in Sing Sing for 23 years for the rape and decapitation of 12-year-old Alice. The tale alternates between Chappy's own story (both outside and inside of prison), and letters he receives from a 19-year-old girl who knows of Alice's fate and wants to start playing with 12-year-old boys. The girl's letters disturb Chappy, bringing his memories vividly to the fore. In prose that is both lyrical and horrifyingly direct, A.M. "Amy" Homes takes us into the minds of the correspondents. Chappy is bright, analytical, and reminiscent of Nabokov in the way he talks about his "Lolita." But the sex is graphic and often bizarre, and the author's tone is chilly, so it's not a book to be picked up lightly. As Daphne Merkin writes in the New York Times, it's a "splashy, not particularly likable book whose best moments are quietly observed and whose underlying themes are more serious than prurient."
From Library Journal
In this deeply disturbing novel, Homes (In a Country of Mothers, LJ 8/93) seems to be attempting to create as repulsive a protagonist as possible-a nameless pedophile serving his 23rd year at Sing Sing. Alongside his narrative is the tale of a 19-year-old college coed obsessed by a preteen boy. A large part of the novel centers on the half-real, half-imagined ties that develop between the convict and the college student as a result of her increasingly graphic letters to him. The rest is a reminiscence of his affair with a 12-year-old seductress named Alice that ends in her gruesome murder. Deliberately shocking and confrontational, Homes's purpose seems to be to force the reader into a kind of Dostoevskian identification with the blackest and most perverse elements of human nature. An optional purchase for larger libraries.
Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Title is alarmingly very similar to "go ask Alice" a book often suggested to people in high school - was that intentional?
Even on the level of pure prose, an aspect of the book most readers seem to agree is terrific, isn't really. Instead Homes presents an overblown and overwritten first-person narrative (by the killer) written in a silly and juvenile style I wouldn't have thought possible for any serious writer over the age of 20. Homes fails on every level in making the killer credible or believable as a character, especially a male character, yet still focuses on the killer's backstory instead of the much more interesting but disappointingly underdeveloped story of the girl he corresponds with (filtered through his psyche and mostly or entirely imagined by him). The post-modern narrative tricks are distracting and not very illuminating, more clever than smart, and even the ratio of genuine shocks to limp shock-for-its-own-sake ones, which can be credited only to Homes' constant grandstanding, is extremely unfavorable to say the least. The only reason this one gets three stars is because the girl's story really had some merit and (squandered) potential.
The End of Alice may be the most horrifying not in its final and bloody depiction of the title, but in its success in allowing the reader to sympathize - even momentarily - with a creature as sickening as a pedophile. It is hard to read about a sociopath as a whole person. It is hard to get into the grey areas of the world, to slide from the easy black and white of wrong and right. But here you have it: the monster as man, the monster as teenage girl, the monster as someone you smile at on the street. The monster in you.
After multiple reads over the past five years, this book still holds me fascinated - by its subject, by its skill, and by the poetry in Homes' language. This isn't exactly a pleasant read, but it will shake you in a way you may not have been shaken before - and it is worth it.
The End of Alice is written in a very silky, and laid out fashion. The jumps from the narrator Chappy's story (both while incarcerated and while he was free) and his 19-year-old wannabe protege are cinematic to the point that a reference to the great work of Oliver Stone may be suiting. However, the changes occur without disruption in the flow of the overall story, which to me, is the sign of an excellent writer.
Alice deals with some very heavy social issues, and I feel that I should place a disclaimer on this book, in case there are those who may be offended easily. There is a great deal of descriptive sexual relations scene, which just go one step smutty, and are deliberatly shocking to us. ALso, keep in my mind, the relationship between Chappy and his protege is an intellectual one, where a student wants to learn the motivation for pedophilism from another.
Putting the subject matter aside, Homes weaves a surrealistic dreamworld for us to get lost in, and does a brilliant job in doing so. I would definetly recommend this to any reader who can handle the matter, and is up for the challenge.
Most recent customer reviews
I finished it out of sheer morbid curiosity; I really kept telling myself to stop reading it, but I couldn't. So for that alone, the author did something right obviously. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Amie Smith
I ordered this book on Amazon after reading reviews of it online (including on the Amazon sites) and thought that the concept of it, as well as the point of views it is written... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Vader Llama
Skip the reviews that say things like, 'great if you have an open mind.' All you need is a love for literature, a good story, and brilliant writing. Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2007 by Reader and Writer
The End of Alice went above and beyond what I expected when I read the summary. It is very descriptive and not for the faint of heart or those unwilling to accept that criminals... Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2006 by Brandy
If Hannibal Lechter were to pen a cheap Harlequin romance novel, this is would be the outcome. The author's overuse of ridculous adjectives and graphic sexual deviance does... Read morePublished on June 14 2004
The End of Alice is not for everyone; especially those off-put by racy subject matter. Homes has a natural ease with which she writes about the most perverse (and at the same time... Read morePublished on May 29 2004 by Allison
It's a childish book. As I made my way through all the vomit, semen, bowel movements, scabs, etc., I was reminded of how scandalized children are by bodily secretions, and yet how... Read morePublished on March 19 2004
a note of warning, when hearing the words "shocking", "spectacular", "erotic" and the likes from the literati, immediately flee to the next book. Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2004 by Literary Drunkass
This is the most revolting, disjointed, lean story there is. It seems to me that the author relies heavily on shock and leaves the story bare and lean. Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2004