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Lowboy Paperback – 19 Mar 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (19 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847671519
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847671516
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,901,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

John Wray invests his anti-hero's skewed perspective with empathy and complexity.
-- Metro

One of our most astonishing and relevant young writers. -- Esquire

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. -- Tim Pears

Uncompromising [and] ... excellent. A meticulously constructed novel, immensely satisfying in the perfect, precise beat of its plot.
-- New York Times

[A] lip-biting thriller. -- Marie Claire

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.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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 Pen pal VINE VOICE on 17 Oct. 2010
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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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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Format: Paperback
I can see the story behind all the babblings of Will and his Mother, but it didn't become evident for me untill the closing stages. I don't know if the author (John Wray) meant it to be like that or if I missed some clues in the ramblings!! William Heller or Lowboy as he calls himself is a Paranoid Schizophrenic who at 16 is becoming more of a challenge for his Mother to handle,(she also has a grip on reality by the hinges) and after an incident on the Subway, has Will commited rather than have him sent to prison.

The story takes place in a time line of just over 24 hours in which we find that Will (Lowboy) has absconded from an institution he refers to as 'school' after not taking his medication for some days. It is common that mentally ill people stop taking their medication thinking that as they feel better, they no longer need it. There were side effects of the drugs which Will was feeling. These side effects (according to Lowboy) were hindering him in 'saving the world' but are also very common in 16 year old boys! As the day continues his lucidity starts to fail him more and it becomes apparant that he needs to be caught before he hurts himself and those around him.

It seemed to me that there were two main characters in the novel and these were rolled out seamlessly without warning. Will, who could have rational thoughts and Lowboy who was the dreamer, the Paranoid Schizophrenic. The charactors were few on the ground which was a good thing as the novel was a slightly challenging read - not exactly linear! But there is a conclusion, and a basis to the story - I think lol!!
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