This novel is incredible. I picked it up by chance in my local library three years ago, and, after flicking through a few pages, immediately fell in love with Fowler's uncompromising style. Unafraid to tackle issues such as poverty, brutality and victimisation, he allows his characters to speak their minds with a stark, upfront voice, yet deals sensitively with the theme of nostalgia which runs throughout the book. The plot is original and, while the first half of the novel plays upon everyman's childhood fears and insecurities, the second half brings much-desired revenge for both the main character and also vicariously for the reader. The characters are visceral and frighteningly human, while the quotations at the beginning of each chapter add an intellectual depth to the storyline of this 'horror' novel. Indeed, one soon learns that the true horror of 'Psychoville' lies in the fact that the events could actually be lifted straight from one's local newspaper. The crucial thing about this book however, is the way it makes the reader feel. Virtually anyone who samples Fowler's masterpiece will identify with at least some of the characters' experiences, therefore making the text more powerful and the finale more darkly satisfying. 'Psychoville' has affected me personally in a way I cannot describe; it marked a turning point in my life just when I was experiencing a similar hell to which young Billy March suffers in the first part of the novel. The empathy I felt with his thoughts and emotions, and the compelling, disturbing way in which Fowler writes urged me to read the book a further five times (per year!), and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys an intelligently gruesome read.
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