A novel about obsession that makes for obsessive reading.
All Owen Patterson wants is an normal life, a happy marriage, and a stable family. But following the brutal and random murder of his brother-in-law, that dream is shattered. A year later, his wife is still in mourning and his in-laws won’t talk about anything but their dead son.
The murderer, Henry Joseph Raven, has been put in prison, but as far as Owen is concerned, prison isn’t punishment enough. He embarks on a quest to “balance the scales of justice,” writing letters to Henry Raven under the pseudonym Lily Hazelton. His plan: to seduce the murderer, make him fall in love with his fictional correspondent, and then break his heart. From one letter to the next, Lily Hazelton develops into a curious amalgam of details from Owen’s imagination, snatches of his difficult childhood, and memories of his cousin Eileen, a suicide who was his first true love. Not entirely in control of his own creation, Owen dives headfirst into the correspondence, only to find himself caught in the trap he’s set for Henry Raven.
Bringing together an epistolary game of cat and mouse with the harrowing record of one man’s psychological collapse, The Interloper is a compelling and original debut from a bold new writer.
Antoine Wilson’s work has appeared in The Paris Review, Best New American Voices, StoryQuarterly, and other periodicals. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and recipient of the Carol Houck Smith Fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. He is a contributing editor of A Public Space. This is his first novel. He lives in Los Angeles.
“As assured and sumptuously written as any first novel I’ve encountered—Antoine Wilson’s prose sings, and the
story he tells here is both clever and compelling. This is writing at
its very best.” — T. Coraghessan Boyle
“Although his pedigree is impressive (Iowa Writer’s Workshop, the Paris
Review, “Best New American Voices”), Wilson has come seemingly out of
nowhere to deliver a novel that is confident, well-paced and very, very
creepy. Were he to meddle in literary affairs again and again, the world
would be the better for it.” —San Diego Union-Tribune
“The pleasures of this wry debut novel lie not in wondering if things
will turn out badly for Owen but in how badly they will go and how
unreliable his narrative really is. Was his father a frustrated inventor
or a drug-lab operator? Are his manuals brilliant or perennially late
and barely readable? Is he just a bit odd or a full-blown nutter? Either
way, Owen keeps his mind on the rails long enough to deliver an amusing
account of the train wreck.” —Booklist
“Wilson takes his readers down a dark spiraling path with an
ever-increasing tempo where past childhood memories and hatred collide
with resounding tragedy.” —ForeWord Magazine
"Oh, what thrilling dread, falling in with a character as twisted as the narrator of Antoine Wilson’s terrific first novel, The Interloper.
It’s like leaving a party with a designated driver, only to discover as
you swerve down the driveway that your new friend is drunker than you
are. Or worse, completely insane…..Wilson writes a clean, restrained
line that works well for the setup and for the creeping fun that
follows: a manic, darkly comic descent into delusional obsession.” —Los Angeles Times
“LA Times loved it…Yes, it is that good. The creepy factor is
high as Owen tries to avenge his brother-in-law’s death by assuming the
identity of a woman and writing love letters (as a woman!) to his
brother-in-law’s imprisoned killer. Creepy but funny.” —LAist
“Antoine Wilson’s debut novel, The Interloper, is a thoroughly
dark and uncannily disturbing assessment of psychological breakdown. It
is a story that makes you think about what is normal and what is
abnormal—and about the ends justifying the means….Wilson’s well-written
prose examines how obsession can lead to one’s demise. With its
disturbing plot and characters, The Interloper shows just how far
a person will go to seek revenge…it is definitely worth a close read.
Wilson has a promising career ahead of him.” —Baltimore City Paper
“[A] standout, tautly-written debut novel…At times horrifying and at times laugh out loud funny, The Interloper
makes for compulsive reading…Wilson tightly orchestrates the entire
disaster, leaving us wondering how badly things will end up…succeeding
to write a gripping first novel that defies expectations.” —Brooklyn Rail