The Houseguest

The Houseguest

2.8 9
by Thomas Berger
     
 

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Chuck Burgoyne is no ordinary houseguest. The Graveses (father Doug; wife Audrey; son Bobby; and daughter-in-law Lydia) have gotten used to his polite manners and gourmet breakfasts. But one morning at the Graveses' summer home, Chuck fails to appear.
When Chuck finally does surface, he is no longer sweet and charming, but rather has become aggressive and

Overview

Chuck Burgoyne is no ordinary houseguest. The Graveses (father Doug; wife Audrey; son Bobby; and daughter-in-law Lydia) have gotten used to his polite manners and gourmet breakfasts. But one morning at the Graveses' summer home, Chuck fails to appear.
When Chuck finally does surface, he is no longer sweet and charming, but rather has become aggressive and arrogant, abusing each family member in turn. Each family member that is, except the fellow outsider, Lydia. Once Chuck rescues her from the dangerous undertow of the ocean, Lydia can't help but feel obligated to him, even after his uninvited advances to her while she's half asleep. Slowly it becomes apparent to the family that Chuck isn't anyone's guest but rather a perfect stranger who wormed his way into their home. Yet the Graveses are so concerned with not offending him by being impolite that they willingly accept the abuse he freely dishes out. In private, however, they all scheme for his undoing. But will anyone muster up the courage?
An eerie and clever novel, The Houseguest introduces one of Berger's most dangerous and compelling villains.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Chuck Burgoyne seems, at first, to be the ideal houseguest, according to Audrey Graves, his unsuspecting hostess. He's a gourmet cook, he's congenial company, and he even saves a family member from drowning. Writing in his customary surreal style, Berger (Little Big Man, Being Invisible) creates the quintessential weekend-houseguest horror story, detailing the process that leads to the decision to kill Chuck, when his behavior inexplicably changes. Chuck turns progressively nastystealing, raping and destroying in calculated measure, laying waste to the normally tidy Graves household. He preys on each family member in a different way, aided by uncannily intimate knowledge of his victims and abetted by mysterious cohorts in the nearby village. Is Chuck in fact a member of the hateful Finch tribe, who, with surly indifference, provide all household services to the rich and lazy Graves family? And who invited him, anyway? As the family unites in a variety of unsuccessful attempts to triumph over Chuck, Berger evokes with flair, wit and not a little craziness a series of events leading to the most sensible if unexpected outcome. It is a story that questions the rules of middle-class America, breaks those rules and then rearranges them into a new kind of ship-shape order. Well-written, funny but ultimately disconcerting, The Houseguest challenges values without offering anything better. (April)
From the Publisher
Time The Houseguest...is a rare example of buoyantly irresponsible comedy....At his best, as he is here, Thomas Berger can command attention solely as a lonely, insidious voice insisting that fiction can be stranger than truth.

The New York Times Book Review The Houseguest is wonderfully bizarre....The Houseguest is Spooky-land, where the twists of reality are more frightening than any gothic horror tale and domestic confessions as expressed by the accomplished satiric wit of Mr. Berger are certainly not to be trusted.

Detroit Free Press Thomas Berger is a magician...he never hits a false note.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743260701
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
11/01/2007
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
261,369
File size:
417 KB

Meet the Author

Thomas Berger is the author of twenty-three novels. His previous novels include Best Friends, Meeting Evil, and The Feud, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His Little Big Man is known throughout the world.

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The Houseguest 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting book! I think I felt like lydia at the end of the book. I wanted to scream seriously! You are all fricking lambs with no back bone! It was a good plot and the characters were well written, I just didn't like any of them except lydia. Good book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exeptionally grandiose in wording and description, it was as though the author delighted in obtuse verbiage
RJK2000 More than 1 year ago
Every character in this book had some sort of flaw that makes you want to dislike them. To a certain extent, they come across as being stereotypical. There are some twists to the plot that keeps the book interesting. Finally, the author challenges the reader with words that require a dictionary. I found that a pleasant surprise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cannot get past the first few pages of this book. It's just not grabbing my attention. Very disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took a lot of effort to get through this book I didnt relate to any of the charscters, felt like the plot was absurd,, and didnt enjoy it nearly as much as i normally enjoy a book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cannot believe i wasted time reading this. Wish the houseguest had done this loopy family in!