""I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her." Liz Nugent's astonishing debut novel is a chilling, elegantly crafted, and psychologically astute exploration of human behavior and the nature of evil. Oliver Ryan, a handsome, charismatic, and successful man in robust middle age, is happily married to his wife, Alice, who illustrates the award-winning children's books he writes and devotedly cares for him in their comfortable suburban home. Their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease-until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious, and later that same night beats her into a coma. In the aftermath of such an unthinkable event, as Alice hovers between life and death in her hospital bed, and the couple's circle of friends, neighbors, and acquaintances try to understand what could have driven Oliver to commit such an astonishing act of savagery, he tells his story, peeling away the layers to reveal a life of shame, envy, breath-taking deception, and masterful manipulation. Those whose paths Oliver has crossed over five decades also lay bare their own stories-and as details emerge, and overlapping relationships are disclosed, it grows clear that even he is in for a shock when his past catches up with him. With its alternating points of view and deft prose, Unraveling Oliver is a complex, disturbing, and brilliantly written page-turner about how and why a human being can be transformed into a sociopath."-- Provided by publisher.
Family violence -- Fiction.
Life change events -- Fiction.
Man-woman relationships -- Fiction.
Wife abuse -- Fiction.