James Lasdun The Horned Man

ISBN 13: 9780099428350

The Horned Man

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9780099428350: The Horned Man

Lawrence Miller, an English expatriate in New York, tells the story of what appears to be an elaborate conspiracy to frame him for a series of brutal killings. The intricate plot entangles Miller, a teacher of Gender Studies, in the lives of a womanising colleague under investigation for sexual harassment, a lonely attorney who has developed an inexplicable passion for Miller, and a shadowy Bulgarian who adapts Kafka for the stage, is prone to acts of explosive violence, and may or may not be sleeping under Miller's office desk. As the novel spirals to its shocking conclusion, Lawrence Miller traverses, in terror, the streets of Manhattan, tracking the lines of human connection across the city and out to the decaying suburbs beyond, in wild pursuit of his persecutors.

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Review:

Penzler Pick, April 2002: Already a sensation in his native England, this first novel by expatriate James Lasdun is one of the most disturbing and compelling books you are likely to read this year.

The protagonist, Lawrence Miller, is himself an expat teaching gender studies at a small college located just outside New York City. He is a member of the sexual harassment committee which meets on a regular basis to walk that fine line between the sublime and the ridiculous of political correctness.

Miller's well-ordered life starts to disintegrate one day when he takes a book from the shelf in his office to find that the bookmark has been moved several pages although, as far as he knows, nobody has visited his office. An easily explained lapse of memory perhaps, but Miller decides he will discuss it with the therapist he has been seeing in Manhattan since his wife left him. He is shocked as he approaches her office to see the therapist walking towards him, but she turns off towards Central Park before he can speak to her and he then loses sight of her. When he arrives at her office, however, she is waiting for him as usual and assures him that she has not left her office; in fact, she is always with another patient before Miller's appointment.

So begins the disorientation of Lawrence Miller. He has his little obsessions, of course--he won't pick up the messages on his answering machine, for instance, in order to convince himself that while he was out his wife tried to call him. Still in love with her, he hopes that she will call and want to return to him. But this is just a game he plays, part of his very human nature. He is in no way the sort of man who is paranoid or imagines conspiracies, but the unexplained incidents seem to be increasing.

Miller tries to rationalize what is happening, but he can't help thinking, nor can we, that he has become the target of somebody who wishes him harm. And when a series of murders takes place, Miller begins to suspect that he is being set up to take the blame for these murders by a devious and diabolical mind.

Lawrence Miller struggles to loosen the hold his pursuers have on him, but the more he struggles the more he appears to be drowning. Try to sleep after reading his terrifying story. --Otto Penzler

About the Author:

James Lasdun's books include The Horned Man and Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked. He teaches creative writing at Columbia University and reviews regularly for the Guardian. His work has been filmed by Bernardo Bertolucci (Besieged) and he co-wrote the films Sunday, which won Best Feature and Best Screenplay awards at Sundance, and Signs and Wonders, starring Charlotte Rampling and Stellan Skarsgard.

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Lawrence Miller, an English expatriate in New York, tells the story of what appears to be an elaborate conspiracy to frame him for a series of brutal killings. The intricate plot entangles Miller, a teacher of Gender Studies, in the lives of a womanising colleague under investigation for sexual harassment, a lonely attorney who has developed an inexplicable passion for Miller, and a shadowy Bulgarian who adapts Kafka for the stage, is prone to acts of explosive violence, and may or may not be sleeping under Miller s office desk. As the novel spirals to its shocking conclusion, Lawrence Miller traverses, in terror, the streets of Manhattan, tracking the lines of human connection across the city and out to the decaying suburbs beyond, in wild pursuit of his persecutors. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099428350

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