A NovelBook - 2000
Hallucinatory and erotic, Shirker, the first novel to be published in the United States by New Zealander Chad Taylor, is a terrifying exploration of violent and sexually charged obsessions, as powerful and mystifying in its way as was William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel, and as original and fresh as Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, two of the novels to which it will undoubtedly be compared.Using the form of a mystery, but clearly eschewing the formula, Taylor has crafted a tale that is built word by word and idea by idea on a foundation of storytelling skills that are rare and brilliant. The result is a novel that is compulsively and obsessively readable, matching the drive that sends its hero, Ellerslie Penrose, as close to the edge as anyone is likely to want to go.Set in New Zealand, Shirker opens with a deadly discovery by Penrose, a part-time futures broker and full-time existentialist; it ends with him facing more questions than he might have imagined. In between, he trawls through a series of events and places as bizarre as they are fascinating, learning the depth of the evil against which he is pitted and which he must counter with no weapon or help other than his own wits.
Publisher: New York : Walker & Co., c2000
Characteristics: 232 p. ; 22 cm