Hitchcock's Rear Window meets Messud's The Woman Upstairs in this unnerving, superbly crafted novel which takes readers deep into the mind of a serial stalker and, through him, the lives of his unsuspecting victims.
Try it yourself. Go out, pick somebody and watch them. Take your phone and a notebook. Persist. What begins as a confluence of yours and another person's journeys, on the train maybe or leaving a cinema, gets into an entanglement. You follow, feeling that it's not really following because you're going the same way, then when they at last reach their office you feel the clutch of a goodbye. It's normal. But how many times do you think the person being followed has been you?
READ ME is a seductive, haunting novel that holds a sinister mirror up to the ways in which we observe, judge, and influence people. Benedictus' prose commands and draws readers into the dark, manipulative mind of a serial stalker as he targets women across London, escalating his efforts until he settles on Frances a bright young professional whose career is set to take off whose life he proceeds to unravel from the inside, out.
A chilling rumination on power, manipulation, complicity, and anonymity, READ ME exposes just how vulnerable we are to the whims of others people we may not even know.
|Publisher:||Grand Central Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Leo Benedictus was born in London and graduated from Oxford University. He worked as an advertising copywriter and as a freelance sub-editor for The Guardian. His work on immigration issues has earned him widespread recognition: his article "London: The World in One City" won the Amnesty International UK Media Award (2005) and the Race in the Media Award (2006). His work has appeared in Prospect, The Observer, The New Statesman, The London Review of Books and The Literary Review. Leo's debut novel The Afterparty was long-listed for the 2011 Desmond Elliott Prize. Leo is currently a freelance feature writer for The Guardian and lives with wife Sarah and his two sons in Brighton. Leo is writer-in-residence at Holland Park School, London.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the story of a stalker. He writes that years prior he inherited a large sum of money and has spent his time following random people. He follows people around making notes in his journals. But he has taken a liking to Frances. He sees her crying and introduces himself to her, a conversation happens about her work situation, and their phone numbers are exchanged. From there he starts seriously stalking her, hiding cameras and microphones in her apartment. He even hides in her apartment when she is there. Then things go from bad to worse. It seems he is the reason she had trouble at work. When I think of stalkers I just get a chill and I was excited to see how this book was going to tackle that story line. Although the narrator and Frances has the possibility to be really good, the story started falling flat for me. He started being more obnoxious than scary and Frances didn’t really make me care what happened to her. This could be a story that people really life but I have to say that I didn’t really think it was a fit for me. Try it, you may like it. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Read Me by Leo Benedictus is a so-so novel of suspense featuring a creepy stalker. An unnamed narrator receives an inherited fortune and decides to now use his time refining his hobby: stalking random people. He keeps notes and records of his subjects and, at first, switched to different subjects after a short period of time. His rule was to never become personally involved, until he met Frances. Frances is a beautiful young woman working for a consulting firm. Soon it becomes clear that our stalker is disrupting and manipulating events in her life, causing her harm and psychological distress. He is also dealing out punishment on Frances's behalf to those he believe deserve it. The opening scene in the novel will clue you in that something is off with the narrator. He is a nobody and there is no real sense of a personality except evidence will hint to the fact that all is not right with him. His account of what he does is presented in a bland, matter-of-fact way, and he seems alternately awkward and insipid. However, normal people don't stalk others, become obsessed and monitor their subjects, keep notes on them, or set up cameras and microphones to spy on them. There is no true clue why the stalker chose Frances either. Right at the start the long-winded discourses and philosophical digressions are monotonous and slow the novel down. I felt like I was slogging through this novel trying to get through it, especially in the first third, when I expect an author to hook me into the premise of the story. While the premise seems promising from the description, the switch between first, second, and highly subjective third person point-of-views makes the narrative feel muddled. (Adding to this encumbrance is the use of the past, present, and future tense.) For me the novel fell flat. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley.