“Thy Neighbor” by Norah Vincent

Sometimes I have new mom brain.  It took me until I was about halfway through reading Norah Vincent’s “Thy Neighbor” to realize I’d read a previous book of Vincent’s — her non-fiction memoir, “Voluntary Madness,” about a year spent in America’s mental health system.

I’m pleased to say that “Thy Neighbor,” her fiction debut, is as powerful as her bestselling non-fiction.

Guys, “Thy Neighbor” is a messed up book.  I mean that as a compliment.  Our narrator, Nick, lives a life of booze and excess after the murder-suicide of his parents thirteen years earlier.  He’s such a destroyed person, he’s spying on all his neighbors — like, has cameras in their houses. His neighbors, meanwhile, are a screwed-up bunch.  It’s amazing what goes on behind the walls of picture-perfect suburbia. Nick’s inner thoughts brought Holden Caulfield, of “The Catcher in the Rye,” to mind several times.  He’s a tortured soul — though it’s mostly self-torturing.  Not that anyone around him is living a world of sunshine and lollipops.  There’s child abuse and infidelity and bad people and missing people.  It’s a dark, dark world that our Nick inhabits.  No wonder he’s a wreck of a person.

I look forward to whatever Norah Vincent writes next.  She’s proven herself as a non-fiction author, and “Thy Neighbor” is a powerful and gripping debut.

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About JamieP

Books. Adventures. Chicago. Married. Mommy. Cat.

Posted on June 20, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Oh, this sounds disturbing and awesome! Did you read ” Self-Made Man”? Fascinating

  2. I haven’t read “Self-Made Man,” but it’s on my list. I think she’s a really interesting writer.

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