The Visible Man

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In Austin, Texas, therapist Victoria Vick is contacted by a cryptic, unlikable man who insists his situation is unique and unfathomable. As he slowly reveals himself, Vick becomes convinced that he suffers from a complex set of delusions. Y, as she refers to him, claims to be a scientist who has stolen cloaking technology from an aborted government project in order to render himself nearly invisible. He says he uses this ability to observe random individuals within their daily lives, usually when they are alone and vulnerable Unsure of his motives or honesty, Vick becomes obsessed with her patient and the disclosure of his increasingly bizarre and disturbing tale. Over time, it threatens her career, her marriage, and her own identity. Interspersed with notes, correspondence, and transcriptions that catalog a relationship based on curiosity and fear, The Visible Man touches on all of the author’s favorite themes – the consequences of culture, the influence of media, the complexity of voyeurism, and the existential contradiction of normalcy. 230p.

Editorial Reviews

An author best known for his journalism and nonfiction books makes a big leap with his second novel.

The former mid-market newspaper rock critic has attracted a growing following since his breakout debutÂ;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;(Fargo Rock City,Â;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;2001), which was all about coming of age far from the media centers and arbiters of hip.Â;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;Since then, he has expanded from music to sports and pop culture in general, always reflecting a Gen X attitude at odds with the baby-boomer verities. Thus, it's characteristic to have his second novel dismiss a pot-smoking Beatles fan as ";;;;;;;listening to dead hippies sing about the Maharishi.";;;;;;;Â;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;Yet this novel is far more daring and ambitious than his debut novelÂ;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;(Downtown Owl,Â;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;2008), which was mainly a fictionalized version of coming of age in North Dakota. It concerns a therapist and a most unusual patient. Initially, he refuses to meet her in person or to allow her to ask questions, opting instead for long monologues over the phone (which constitute a hefty chunk of the narrative). It's unclear to both the therapist and the reader why he has sought her services, since he doesn't seem to be looking for advice or even perspective. Instead, he has a story to tell, about how he has been able to make himself unseen (he hates the term ";;;;;;;invisible";;;;;;;) and share the living spaces of other loners in order to gain insight into the essence of people when they think no one is watching. ";;;;;;;No one will ever be as close to her as I was that night, because no one else can ever be with her when she's alone,";;;;;;; he says. As the patient relates episodes that progress from observing to intervening in others' lives, often with catastrophic consequences, the therapist resists her inclination to terminate their relationship: ";;;;;;;Would I everÂ;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;have a patient this interesting again? Never. This was like being Hitler's therapist, or Springsteen's, or Superman's.";;;;;;;

Immersed as always in popular culture, but rises to the challenge of creative fiction.

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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