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Lowboy [Paperback]

John Wray
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

5 Aug 2010
In the tunnels beneath New York a young man is missing. With each passing minute he heads deeper underground, further from the world of light and reason and closer to the moment of his great surrender. Above ground Ali Lateef of the NYPD is assigned the case. The boy's mother Violet is reluctant to help and Emily, Lowboy's girlfriend and only confidante, appears to have vanished too. Can Lateef find Lowboy before it's too late?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd (5 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847671527
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847671523
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 669,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A twenty-first century Holden Caulfield. --Observer

America's most original young writer has given us a book for the ages...Compelling, compassionate, and deeply unsettling. --GARY SHTEYNGART, author of Absurdistan

A smart, moving thriller, and a deeply imaginative one, too. --Time Out

A psychotic, subterranean, environmentally conscious coming-of-age novel. It is also an affecting and affectionate love letter to New York. --NATHAN ENGLANDER, author of The Ministry of Special Cases

Sucks you into the tunnels under New York and doesn't let you go until its perfect ending.
--TIM PEARS, author of In the Place of Fallen Leaves

Review

Sucks you into the tunnels under New York and doesn't let you go until its perfect ending. Wray effortlessly portrays the cracked and distorted mind of his teenage hero. What a beguiling novel. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling 17 Oct 2010
By Pen pal VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
To begin with I wasn't sure if I was enjoying this book, and enjoyment is probably not the word for a book like this anyway. It makes uncomfortable and yet fascinating reading. It draws you in and so before you know it you are compelled to carry on. John Wray has obviously researched his subject well, and he effectively puts you in the mind of Will Heller who suffers from schizophrenia. To do this cannot be an easy task, and it is exhausting to find yourself in such a disturbed frame of mind, unpeaceful and threatening. The mood of the book is menacing and somewhat horrifying and yet so sad too. The contrast of such a physically beautiful boy but with so much suffering and torment going on in his mind is well portrayed. You can understand Emily feeling she can help him because his beauty is so deceptive. Human nature is such that it always responds positively to beauty. You can comprehend her initial sympathetic collusion. Is everything as it seems, how much does his mother have to answer for? Where does illusion end and truth begin? Quite a powerful read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Will Heller, a paranoid schizophrenic known as Lowboy, reveals in the opening sentences of Wray's latest novel that he is overly sensitive to sense impressions, hearing the closing of the door of a subway car as "C# first, then A. Sharp against both ears, like the tip of a pencil." He has escaped from the "school" he has been attending for two years, believing that "the world's going to die in ten hours, by fire," and he is determined to do whatever he can to prevent this--and to lose his virginity as a way to stop global warming. He seems almost logical, though odd, as he first begins to move through the subway system, gradually yielding to more and more bizarre behavior as time passes and his medications wear off.

Ali Lateef, a New York City detective whose area of expertise is "Special Category Missing," is hoping that Will's mother, "Miss Heller," sometimes known as Violet, can provide enough information to allow him to find Will in the seven or eight hours before his lack of medication pushes him into violence, but she, too, has her problems. As Will travels the subways, he recalls stories his grandfather told him about an underground city beside the Musaquantas River, and, in fact, he finds a whole "city" beneath the streets, when he follows a homeless woman named "Heather Covington," through the tunnels and into a "room" beneath a grate on the street. He then tries to find "Emily," outside the subway, the only young woman he has ever been close to, and who seemed fond of him two years ago. The seriousness of Will's psychosis is obvious, however, from the fact that he has been committed to his special "school" because he pushed Emily onto the tracks of the subway just two years past, narrowly missing the third rail.
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By Jo Bennie VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
William Heller, aka Lowboy, is on the run after breaking his conditions of release from Bellevue psychiatric hospital. He travels the subways and subterranean tunnels, off his medication and becoming increasingly psychotic as his paranoid schizophrenia takes over tipping the human need to find patterns in the chaotic into madness. Wray writes the novel from two points of view, Lowboy's increasingly disturbed perspective and that of Detective Ali Lateef, searching for Lowboy with his mother Yda, aka Violet, their tale too becoming unspooled as Lateef reflects on his altered identity, name changed when his father converted to Islam, and that of Yda. Very good, but I prefer Tabitha Suzuma's trilogy about a teenage boy with manic depression.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling, exhausting ride 6 Aug 2009
Format:Hardcover
The critical praise for Lowboy was so exalted I almost hesitated to buy the book; nothing could live up to that hype. But Lowboy just about does. The disintegrating point of view of the title character, aka Will Heller, is precise and sweeps you along. The entire book, in fact, is paced like an express train: fast, at times appearing to be controlled, at other times delivering unexpected jolts. It was only afterward that I questioned a few of the authorial choices, in particular concerning Will's mother. But the external and internal worlds of Will sucked me in to such a degree that even after I emerged, I still felt vaguely unsettled, as you do when climbing up the subway steps after an especially long trip to be smacked with the midday sun. All I can say is that I can't recommend Lowboy enough.
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