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The End of Alice [Hardcover]

A.M. Holmes
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Mar 1996
The author of In a Country of Mothers examines the dark, disturbing corners of an American psyche that refuses to know itself despite a plethora of cover stories on abuse and of 12-step programs for sexual addicts. Set inside the head of a violent sex offender now in his 23rd year of confinement, The End of Alice masterfully captures the decadent, sometimes violent, aspects of sexual obsession and desire.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (25 Mar 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684815281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684815282
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 170,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

A novel that shines a flashlight under the bed of suburban perversity. A.M. Homes, whom the N.Y. Times Book Review calls "exhilaratingly perverse", lures us into a Nabokovian world where characters both repellent and seductive conduct forays into the dark depths of their obsessions. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"* 'A.M. Homes never plays it safe and it begins to look as if she can do almost anything' Michael Cunningham * 'If the first major literary marker of the American dream of aspiration, potential and never-ending youth was F. Scott Fitzgerald's lyrical piece of doomed yearning, The Great Gatsby, its postmodern flipside [is] A.M. Homes's The End of Alice, whose paired literary voices made a grotesque harmony of two yearners after the dream of youth' Ali Smith, Guardian * 'A.M. Homes instructs us about ourselves and shows us what we are blighted with and cringe from, our compulsions, repressions, longings, glimpses of madness' Ruth Rendell * 'Undeniably shocking... Superbly achieved by a writer who is a true artist in words' Vogue" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This is not a book for the lily-livered. Bold, courageous and confrontational, The End of Alice is most disturbing. It is also very, very good. There is absolutely nothing engaging or delightful in this story which relates, through correspondence, the exploits of an imprisoned paedophile and his young, wild prototype. It is uncomfortable reading: repulsive and gripping in almost equal measure. Deliberately shocking, Homes forces unpleasant questions, at each and every turn of the page judging perfectly how readers are likely to react, catching them in their own doubts with scary precision. The erotic correspondence, delicious to the letter writers, works well in revealing how a paedophile, imprisoned twenty three years ago, is also witty and intelligent, manipulative and guiltily complicit. Turning the final page comes as a relief: can't imagine anyone actually enjoying reading this novel but it is rewarding in its own way. A unforgettable literary questioning of liberalism and modernity, it deserves attention.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and seductive...but hesitate 29 Aug 1999
By A Customer
The most riveting, seductive book that I have ever read...and hesitate to recommend to others. Homes is an amazing writer. The inner world she creates inside the pedophile's head weaves it's own spell upon the reader, drawing one into a maze of logic unto its own *reality*. The reader is seduced into a point of view that warps the truth and charms in a perverse and oddly mesmerizing way. What bravery in tackling such repulsive subjectmatter. I recently read an interview with Homes, and she spoke of the anger that the book has evoked in people. Well dear reader, be warned. If you are able to face the shadow in your own self, and endure a little squirming in your *safe* little this dangerous and dark insightful tale. I myself will order her newest novel with great anticipation, " Music for Torching".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I read this book a couple of years ago when it was first released in the UK amid all the hoo-ha and WH Smith's ban and so on. Indeed, it is a disturbing, distressing and very challenging book. Above all though, a very courageous piece of work.
Possibly the most dificult of all society's taboos, peadophilia, Homes has none-the-less allowed a story to evolve that is real, very sad and full of questions and no real answers necessarily. The biggest answer, if there is one, is that perhaps the peodophile is not too far related to the 'normal' human being and that perhaps this is the discomfort that allows the issue to go by and grow, without real progress into its' prevention.
Beautifully written, scary and cold, A.M. Homes has an observational eye to be reckoned with.
I'm in the middle of reading her latest book, Music for Torching, and she again has produced a brilliant piece of work.
Both books highly recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly uncomfortable 17 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
It is difficult to know what to say about this book. By turns I was revolted, amazed, made extremely uncomfortable, and found myself aghast at the vision that created it. Alice is a 12 year-old girl and her story is told by the man who killed her, a paedophile in prison. The child herself is portrayed as extraordinarily precocious, as is another, a 12 year-old boy whose seducer, a 19 year-old young woman, is writing to the paedophile. The 12 year-olds are willing, complicit, both of them. In the world of the paedophile, of course, they would be seen as such, even if they were not.

Alice's killer is subjected to stomach-churning abuse as a boy - one scene of him in a bath with his mother does for baths what Alfred Hitchcock did for showers, and then some. At one point I did not really want to continue reading - it made me feel grubby and profoundly uncomfortable, but I persevered, and I am impressed, but I don't want to be impressed.

A M Homes' writing talents are extraordinary, but I wonder what she gained by portraying a paedophile as a victim? Perhaps that is her point? Perhaps there is nothing done in this world that cannot be explained or understood? To write from the point of view of everyone's moral panic figure is brave, defiant, almost as if she is saying there is nothing under the sun that a human being cannot comprehend.

I expected to be shocked by this novel - but at the same time I knew I would want to defend Homes' right to portray a taboo subject. What I did not expect is my feeling of revulsion at the complicity of the children concerned. Perhaps what I missed in this extraordinary book is some confirmation that this complicity was an illusion of the paedophile? I'm pretty sure I would have recognised this element if it had been present.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable 21 Jun 2008
After reading the reviews I was somewhat hesitant about reading this book. It did, as pointed out by other reviewers, leave you asking yourself some awkward questions, and wondering why the hell you were reading such a book. However, I did enjoy, if thats the right word, this book to a degree. Though I did find it uncomfortable in parts. I don't really know what else to say apart from if you're looking for a book to evoke something perhaps other books haven't (though not necessarily good) this is a book for you. Strange, unregrettable, yet somehow I feel I missed the point of the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Really IS NOT for the faint hearted.
I read the reviews on this book and thought I was brave enough. Unfortunately, I am not.

I felt like the author was trying so hard to disgust me that it went a level... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Joanna Worrall
1.0 out of 5 stars I didn't like this book
This book was the most broaring book I have read I wanted to stop reading but it was horrific never ever will iread another one like thus
Published 6 months ago by Bernadette Maher
4.0 out of 5 stars Very disturbing
A haunting READ of paedophilia, psychology and criminology. The scariest, most disturbing and sexually explicit stories I have read in a long time.
Published 8 months ago by charlotte gruen
3.0 out of 5 stars Exhausting
Not an easy read at all. Again, dialogue is a strength and such fluid prose but, oh, what a subject.
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars difficult subject
Not a book you can say you love, really, it's a difficult subject but addressed with great honesty and care. Read more
Published 10 months ago by lolabubble
1.0 out of 5 stars Deleted
I read a lot and consider myself pretty open minded but this is the first book I've deleted from my kindle without finishing. Read more
Published 12 months ago by SCAuzou
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark
Of course it's going to be dark as it's main characters are paedophiles. Hard to know what was true of the characters and they don't elicit sympathy or empathy but I did want to... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Kitty Jackson
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth reading
I bought this book without really knowing what it was about and I didn't know of AM Homes until I heard she had won a literary prize and thought she might be worth reading. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Meg
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing
I found this book utterly uncomfortable to read yet equally intriguing. Disturbing in places. An unforgettable read in. Well written.
Published 14 months ago by Pink Soap Face
3.0 out of 5 stars Be prepared for the details
The story was quite well written but some of the descriptions were very very graphic and quite uncomfortable to read. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jeannette
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