Unravelling Oliver is a tense, suspenseful, psychological thriller which I devoured in two sittings.The very first line tells you an awful lot about the book:
"I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her"
The story centre's around the main character Oliver, who we very quickly learn has hit his wife Alice and that this is not something he has ever done before. Later the same day he does something even worse and here begins the complete unravelling of Oliver. We learn about different times of his life and things which happened to him from narrators that knew him from childhood, or at certain points in his life and and from himself describing certain events himself. This is brilliantly written and all the characters really come alive in their parts of the book. They also give a rounded view of what Oliver was like and what he did from their point of view. This also gives us the reader a much better understanding of Oliver and why he is the way he is.
The only character that we really never get to know in the narratives is his wife, Alice. She is always described by other people and we never get to hear her side of the story, due to Oliver's actions. Although I did feel sorry for her and her fate, I do think she let him get away with treating her badly with his cheating and not letting her have children.Letting him send her brother Eugene away also irritated me, stand up for yourself woman I was inwardly screaming at her whilst reading.
The novel is set in Ireland and spans many years, from Oliver as a child to the present day.There is also a great deal of the novel set in France after Oliver spends one summer there before college. This is a very important part of the narrative and things that happen here reflects on most parts of Oliver's life thereafter.
I found the book to be thoroughly gripping, certain events are rather harrowing, sad and disturbing and what brings the story to life is how well it is written, sometimes with a humour needed during dark events. Liz makes the characters come alive from the pages, I felt like I had a very clear idea of everyone who was in the book, their characters and personalities. I don't want to give anything away but I would definitely give it a read if you like a gripping thriller that is very well written and unputdownable.