I’m incredibly grateful to Zuky for forwarding her copy of Unravelling Oliver on to me.
From the back cover:
“I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”
Alice and Oliver Ryan seem blessed, both in their happy marriage and in their successful working partnership. Their shared life is one of enviable privilege and ease. Enviable until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice and beats her into a coma.
Afterwards, as everyone tries to make sense of his astonishing act of savagery, Oliver tells his story. So do those who paths he has crossed over five decades.
It turns out that there is more to Oliver than Alice ever saw. But only he knows what he has done to get the life to which he felt entitled. And even he is in for a shock when his past catches up to him.
Unravelling Oliver is a dark and addictive read, one that begs to be read in one-sitting, even if it meant staying up until 2am to finish it! What made this book so compelling was the way the story was told; each chapter narrated by someone who knew Oliver over the last fifty years, giving us insights into his life from childhood to adulthood and it formed a well-rounded picture of Oliver’s nature and the events that led to his shocking act.
This is one of those novels that is good without trying to be good – each narrator is sharing the impact Oliver had on their life, but each chapter adds to the bigger picture and slowly the puzzles pieces come together. Though the narrator changed with each chapter, the flow was never disrupted, making this a seamless read. It’s not too long in length so you do not get a chance to tire of the narration style but instead you get pulled into finding out the driving force behind Oliver’s actions. When this novel reached its conclusion, I was very impressed but also amazed that I didn’t figure the reasoning earlier, but I was so entranced in my read, how Oliver impacted everyone’s life, that I guess I wasn’t trying to figure it out but instead just enjoying events as they came.
Unravelling Oliver is a psychological thriller written so differently to what’s currently flooding the market, it is a ‘husband and wife’ tale, but one that’s explored from many angles – it may appeal particularly to those who enjoy character-driven novels, and have an interest in the psychology behind why humans commit heinous acts, how childhood and past experiences shape the person you become.
The opening line [and paragraph] grabs your immediate attention but what follows isn’t a fast-paced thrill ride, but rather, a slow-paced unravelling of Oliver, delivered by himself and those that knew him at one point in time. If you need a brake from ‘whodunnits,’ try a ‘whydunnit’ in the form of Unravelling Oliver.