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The Alarming Palsy of James Orr

by Tom Lee

There is such a lot packed in so small a novel that it is a bursting multi-layered great read. Unnerving, poignant, mysterious, very cleverly written, Lee creates tension out of the ordinary, and a profound understanding of the isolation, disruption and anxiety that health issues create. James Orr is a complex and disrupting protagonist and the safe suburban setting challenges his unreliability. This is a powerful read and highly recommended.

Extract

And then, looking closer, there was his left eye, straining in his socket. The pupil was very large, almost engorged, the yellowing cornea red-rimmed and mapped with blood vessels. It starred unblinkingly back at him, as if from some slightly other place. Again, there was the hint of accusation and judgement - now with some justification, James reflected - for having shouted and been rough with his daughter, for having been negligent in letting her pick up the condom in the first place, for something more complicated and less articulable altogether. He had to remind himself that it was his own eye he was looking at and that was looking at him, but this was hardly reassuring.

Parallels

The Pigeon by Patrick Suskind
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Wakefield - the film
 

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