A Kind of Intimacy

( 3 )

Overview

Tracing the dark possibilities of best intentions gone awry, this darkly comic novel about a dysfunctional young woman’s life in the suburbs offers interesting psychological insights. Annie—morbidly obese and lonely—moves into a new home hoping for a clean slate but is convinced she has seen her next-door neighbor before. She embarks on a series of increasingly bizarre attempts to ingratiate herself with the boy next door, but wrong turns and snap judgments lead to a compelling ...

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Overview

Tracing the dark possibilities of best intentions gone awry, this darkly comic novel about a dysfunctional young woman’s life in the suburbs offers interesting psychological insights. Annie—morbidly obese and lonely—moves into a new home hoping for a clean slate but is convinced she has seen her next-door neighbor before. She embarks on a series of increasingly bizarre attempts to ingratiate herself with the boy next door, but wrong turns and snap judgments lead to a compelling and bloody climax.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Annie Fairhurst is looking forward to a fresh start. Overweight and socially awkward, she has shrugged off her unhappy past, jettisoning unattractive furniture, unfriendly neighbors, unpleasant memories, and her controlling husband and her clingy daughter.

With a mountain of self-help books to sort out life's terrifying twists and turns, Annie's confidence grows. This time she'll get things right. Yet despite her best efforts and meticulous planning, she's never quite able to make her old life disappear. Like a surplus of bad pennies, there's always something to remind her of everything she'd like to forget. And when Annie meets a new neighbor, she mistakes simple human kindness for a romantic interest, setting in motion a series of events that threaten to destroy her new life.

A Kind of Intimacy is a marvel of a book which the singularity of Annie's voice drives so compellingly. Deeply personal and unsettlingly familiar, it provokes the uncomfortable realization that there's a bit of Annie in each of us. Ashworth's uncanny insight into a mind both fragile and damaged will remind readers of the best psychological thrillers, while her mordant humor adds its own dimension. Even when things have gone horribly wrong, Annie remains sympathetic and winsome, still trusting that the gentleness and connection she seeks are out there somewhere, waiting just for her.

Publishers Weekly
In her debut novel, Ashworth takes on a formidable task: an insane yet sympathetic protagonist whose efforts at self-help spell disaster. Annie Fairhurst is a socially inept and obese Briton who has murdered her husband and child—which is alluded to but not confirmed until later in the story. She moves into a duplex occupied by an unmarried couple, Neil and Lucy, and Annie immediately becomes obsessed with Neil, who unfortunately makes the mistake of being friendly. In Annie's warped mind, Neil is sending her secret signals of love, although no rational human being would agree from the evidence presented. Annie clashes with Lucy from the start and as their relationship devolves, Annie's strange and aggressive behavior—putting trash through Neil and Lucy's mail slot, stealing Lucy's dress, listening to Lucy and Neil's conversations through the shared wall of their duplex—escalates from childish to, finally, criminal, in a shocking series of actions. Interspersed throughout are glimpses of Annie's past, her troubled marriage and stilted feelings toward her infant daughter, Grace. The beautiful, provocative prose and dangerous, quirky protagonist mark Ashworth as a writer to watch. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
A self-absorbed young woman cannot outrun her troubled past when she tries for a new start in a British suburb. Her head filled with self help-book affirmations, newly-single (and morbidly obese) Annie Fairhurst believes, at age 27, that her life has finally begun. Bringing little more than her cat, Mr. Tips, she moves to a modest home on a quiet street and almost immediately fixates on her neighbor, Neil, a decent bloke who lives and works next door. Mistaking Neil's small kindnesses for romantic interest, Annie imagines a future for the two of them, in spite of the fact that he is happily cohabitating with his skinny, nubile girlfriend Lucy. Charting her "self development and personal progress," in an increasingly warped file, Annie throws a cringe-worthy housewarming party, gets a new hairdo and begins tormenting Lucy in assorted bizarre ways. These range from going through her trash, to pulling out her primroses, to buying the same dress as her rival. Annie naturally denies any wrongdoing, making Lucy look merely high-strung. Annie manages somehow to inspire more pity than fear in Neil and other well-meaning locals, but disturbing details from her previous life emerge. She married young after an unhappy childhood, to a dentist named Will who may or may not have abused her. There was an infant girl as well, Grace, who, like her father, is no longer among the living. Throw in a bunch of kinky encounters with men she met through Abundance magazine and you have a queasy recipe for disaster. So does her history make Annie a victim, a villain or something in between? She is certainly bonkers, with her delusions leading to an inevitable but shocking conclusion. An impressive debut that will remind some of the work of Patricia Highsmith. A nasty, but tough-to-put-down portrait of a sociopath.
The Times
Evokes a damaged mind with the empathy and confidence of Ruth Rendell
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933372860
  • Publisher: Europa
  • Publication date: 5/25/2010
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 785,048
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Jenn Ashworth is head librarian in a prison. She studied English at Cambridge and creative writing at Manchester.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 2, 2010

    Great New Author!

    I always make it a point to check out the "Discover New Writers" section of B&N. What caught my eye about this book was the comparison The London Times made of the author to that of the great writer, Ruth Rendell. Rendell happens to be one of my favorite authors. It was a great comparison. If you love British psychological character studies, you will love this book. I couldn't put it down. I can hardly wait for her next book!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Great debut novel!

    If you liked the movie Obsessed, you will enjoy this book. Without giving away to much, I will say the pacing is slow, but in a way that builds anticipation. Read this book, you will not regret it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2010

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