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Monday, February 4, 2013

"The Uninvited" by Liz Jensen ~ Weird and Wise, Wildly Recommended!

A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother's neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry.

Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger's Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioral patterns and an outsider's fascination with group dynamics.

Nothing obvious connects Hesketh's Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behavior of his beloved stepson, Freddy. But when Hesketh's Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career, and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father.

Part psychological thriller, part dystopian nightmare, The Uninvited is a powerful and viscerally unsettling portrait of apocalypse in embryo.

Published by:  Bloomsbury USA
Pages:  320
Genre:  Fiction/Dystopian/Apocalyptic
Find your copy here:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon
Author's website:   Liz Jensen


Liz Jensen was born in Oxfordshire, to an Anglo-Moroccan librarian mother and a Danish violin-maker father. She studied English at Somerville College, Oxford and worked first as a journalist in Hongkong and Taiwan, then a TV and radio producer for the BBC in the UK.

In 1987 she moved to France where she worked as a sculptor and freelance journalist, and began writing her first novel, Egg Dancing. This was published in 1995, after her return to London, where she wrote Ark Baby (1998), The Paper Eater (2000), War Crimes for the Home (2002), The Ninth Life of Louis Drax (2004), My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time (2006) and The Rapture (2009). She is currently working on her eighth novel, a ghost story.

Liz Jensen’s work has been short-listed for the Guardian Fiction award, nominated three times for the Orange Prize, developed for film, and translated into more than 20 languages. She has two sons, and shares her life with the Danish writer Carsten Jensen, best-selling author of We, The Drowned. She divides her time between London and Copenhagen.
BOOK TRAILER:   Viewer Discretion Advised!  :P
I received a galley of this book from Netgalley, started it a couple of months ago and didn't finish it, reported that I didn't find it at all interesting and shut the door on it.  But, the book wouldn't shut the door on me...  I kept thinking about it.  It kept creeping up on me at odd times.  When I was in book stores, the cover would glare at me.  And then I'd start wondering if I'd given Hesketh half a chance.  So, I went back and decided to reread.  This is the first time I can ever remember doing anything like this.  The book just had its claws in me and wouldn't let me go until it was done!!
I'm so glad I did read it through, but I'm not sure I can give justice to it in a review.  Please bear with me.
"The Uninvited" is one of the most genius and bizarre pieces of literature I've read in a very long time.  It's really something on the cusp of "out there"...  It's quantum physics meets apocalyptic. 
 Flat footed as that may sound, that's what it is. 
 It is a far-fetched and imaginative a novel.
Part of the beauty of this book is its mind stretching ability.  It makes one think outside the proverbial box.
As far as characters go, I will forever remember Hesketh, the anthropological would-be-father with Asperger's syndrome.  What an amazing and powerful figure he is.  So beautifully constructed in every way.  He is the symbolic epitome of the supposed unfeeling human being of our time with "stuffed feelings" that he doesn't know how to express, and/or that he doesn't have.  He's a remarkable character.  I loved his scientific mind coupled with the creative origami for all occasions.  What a masterful creature to head an investigation of seemingly warped and off-target children and adults!  Genius!
And what love and compassion he shows for his child in the face of danger. A complex and beautiful character.
I'm not sure I understood all that this book was meant to convey.  It felt as if I might need to read it again to get all the symbolism and details.  A reading and discussion with someone else would be preferable with this one.  At the end, I grasped the meaning, though, and it held my rapt attention.  Thinking for a while, I was reluctant to put the book aside. 
This is a book that will appeal to those who liked Orwell's "1984" and the best of "futuristic" novels, as we used to call them.  It's dystopian, but it's more than that.  It's a warning about the state of our world, absolutely, but it has elements of Stephen King and Stephen Hawkings.  I have to say it was unusual.  Weird and wise.
I highly recommend it.  I think if you don't read this one this year, you'll be left behind on what will be known as one of the hottest books of the year.  But, this one is going to take some patience up front.  It's not going to be a walk in the park from page one....take my word for it, if you don't stick with it, it will come after you!
5 stars       Deborah/TheBookishDame




How very cool and interesting that this novel kept speaking to you! The cover is haunting. I like that! I really like the honesty and energy in this review! Thank yoU!


Interesting review, Deb.

Sorry I haven't been in touch as much as usual but dealing with lung cancer. Have my second chemo next week and so far, seems to be going OK;

If you get a chance, check my review of "Political Suicide" at Amazon.


Mike Draper


Mike!! How sad to hear about your bout with cancer! All the best...coming over to visit you! Deb

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