Jeremy O’Keefe is a professor who, once his marriage fell apart, accepted a job overseas at Oxford. However, once his life there falls apart, he finds himself back in New York. What happened in Oxford is slowly (and I do mean slowly) revealed as well as the hidden purpose for his return to the states. As he struggles to find his stride back in New York, questions of his mental state arise as he seems, to his family, to become paranoid. Is he going crazy or is the man on the sidewalk who stares up at his window every night actually stalking him?
The summary sets up the novel to be a psychological thriller when it really is just a pompous old man’s rhetoric on the fall of privacy. As for the ending, there does not appear to be one. It seemed like the author had considered continued but even he had bored himself so exhaustively with this writing that he could not go on any longer. That might be harsh, but it might also be true.
It is very easy to forget that this is written in a documentary style. This makes Jeremy’s excessively detailed narrative frustrating because the said excessive detail does not appear to come around as necessary at any point. Two examples of this are: the argument of placing his accent and the repetition of useless information. Americans find his accent to be too British, Brits find his accent too American. This argument occurs far too many times to be funny or interesting, whichever the author was originally intending. Another example is the frequent description of Jeremy “staying in” for the night by turning on the radio for news and eating Vietnamese take-out. This is not only described once, but several times but nothing comes of it-he just really likes Vietnamese cuisine.
Additionally irritating is the general theme of loneliness that looms throughout the book. This theme is irritating because it is displayed in a tone of conceit despite feeling victimized. There is not much content worth reading in the first half of the book, aside from the timeline of his venture to and from England.
In conclusion, I felt that the novel was long-winded, anticlimatic, and redundant. I would not recommend this book unless you enjoy getting stuck next to the rambling stranger on the plane, the subway, or relative at a family function who really just enjoy hearing themselves talk.
For those who may be sensitive: I did not read any foul language, sexually suggestive scenarios, nor direct violence. However, it should also be noted, that I did skim over some parts of the book that were particularly verbose.
Please note: a physical copy of this book was provided via LibraryThing.