"And Colin felt what he had felt for many years, that everyone was odd, that the world was a sick place."
That pretty much sums up how I feel about this book. Colin is my spirit animal. But that makes me a terrible, terrible person.
So this book has been described variously as "creepy" and "creepy", and that's pretty accurate, actually. It tells the story of Colin, a very introverted man who has (in my opinion) sociopathic tendencies. So yes, he burns down his house so he can build a duplex and spy on his tenant and yes, he does some genuinely awful stuff which I will not mention but is very bad
. But despite the creepy, I found myself seriously empathizing with this guy. Colin is a horrible person, but he's also very insecure and all he really wants is to be loved. He is both naive and self-aware. Generous and ridiculous. A lot of a pervert and a bit of a prude.
The writing is spare and this suits the pared-down life that Colin lives. It's quite a short book, but reads as though it's much longer. I must admit, it was rather an uncomfortable read, I kept putting it down and having WTF moments because this guy is just so unbelievable. He, of course, is not the only character in the book. His tenant (and romantic interest) is a young (male) college student, Alek, who is also very strange and a little bit damaged (but I won't say why as it gives too much away).
Now all of that sounds like a set up for some lovely, angsty story-telling, but it really isn't. It's not at all a 'dark erotic romance'. The language is not purple enough. Which is kind of refreshing. However, I do wish the sex scenes (or at least the first one) was more descriptive because I think that it would provide a great deal of insight into (a virgin at 33) Colin's weird dichotomous psyche. As it is, the most we ever get is a "they made love". Huh.
Then there's the ending. Fair warning, oh lovers of happy endings: you will not get one. But even from very early on you aren't expecting one.
All that said, I enjoyed this book quite a lot. But I'm sitting here typing this with a kind of sick feeling; like I need to go take a bath (but I'm covering up my damn mirror first).