The End of Alice Paperback – 1 Nov 1997
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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.
'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
'I recently read [The End of Alice] and thought it was incredible.' --Joe Dunthorne, summer books round up, Observer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
This isn't a book I would read again, or one I would recommend to just about anyone. But for what it is, I feel it works well, and if you enjoy pushing your own boundaries then it might be a challenge well worth undertaking. Make no mistake, it's highly uncomfortable reading, in more ways than simply the sexual. If you want to read something that leaves you a little shaken, a little perturbed, as if you've been privvy to something you really shouldn't have, read it.
I felt like the author was trying so hard to disgust me that it went a level above disgust. Horrific is the word I would choose.
I adored the writing style and use of language, however, I cannot finish this book. It is just too hard hitting with a topic that I thought would be really interesting.
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. I may read it again some time with this idea more in mind, but I hesitate to put myself through this experience more than once. Trusting to my own judgement therefore, my conclusion is that it isn't there because there is no room for it in the paedophile's psychology. For him to admit to even an inkling of the immorality of his actions would bring his world crashing down around him.
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Read it if you dare to ..........