Narrated by: Will Damron
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Satire, Dark Comedy
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media. This did not affect my review or my rating.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove
Already hailed and persecuted for its perverse humor and wildly wicked sensibility, Undone is the tour-de-force black comedy by International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Nominee John Colapinto.
In modern-day America, Dez is a former lawyer and teacher - an ephebophile with a proclivity for teenage girls, hiding out in a trailer park with his latest conquest, Chloe. Having been in and out of courtrooms (and therapists' offices) for a number of years, Dez is adrift, at odds with a society that persecutes him over his desires. From his couch one afternoon, Dez watches an interview with Jasper Ulrickson, a doting father and loving husband whose heartrending memoir, Lessons from My Daughter, has become a national bestseller. The memoir chronicles his journey with his wife, Pauline, who suffered a stroke giving birth to their only child and has been in a locked-in state ever since. Espousing their deep connection and chaste marriage, Jasper's selfless devotion to his wife made him one of the most popular and admired men in America. So Dez sets out to do what any red-blooded American would do: destroy Ulickson by using Chloe to pose as the famous author's long-lost daughter, infiltrate his family, seduce him, and, when he's sent to jail, claim his fortune.
Undone is one of those books that makes you uncomfortable. One where you're not quite sure you can root for any of the characters because their moral compass seems to be a bit off. However, as this is satire, that's precisely the point.
Undone revolves around three main characters. One, Dez, is the very definition of a sociopath. He impacts the lives of the other two main characters - Chloe and Jasper - in profound ways. Ways that will make you cringe in disgust and horror. Ways that will make you question your faith in humanity. Ways that mock certain aspects of our society. And yet, you'll find yourself glued to the story to find out how it all unfolds.
See, Dez has an unhealthy attraction to young girls - 15-18 year olds. A problem that has cost him many things - jobs, friends...and more. Since he doesn't believe there's anything wrong with his predilections, only society's view of them, he feels he's owed something. He therefore concocts an elaborate scheme to get his due. A scheme aimed at Jasper, since he's garnered celebrity with his memoir and Dez watched him on a popular daytime television show, and involving Chloe.
Chloe's role in the destruction of Jasper, and Jasper's own role in his downfall, was pitiable even as they created disgust. I couldn't help but feel for them both being so manipulated. And the ramifications were so devastating to them both. Jasper's wife, daughter, and housekeeper were also deeply affected. And for what?
Undone inspired a lot of negative emotions in me but also some positives. It also was very thought-provoking and caused quite a few emotional discussions with my family. It is very well-written, inherently readable - even it it was a difficult read. The character development is well-done despite this being a plot-driven story. I became very invested in the futures of them all - wanting vastly different variations. This is a story that almost demands you think - consider your position on many topics - all while poking fun. It is a satire on celebrity and society's fascination with it but I felt it was also a commentary on other elements of society.
Will Damron did an excellent job narrating a story with many different characters. He did well with providing distinct voices and being consistent, as well as evoking the myriad emotions the story required. He was also able to keep the pacing just right.
I had a hard time deciding how to rate this book. However, I'm changing my original 3-Bookworm rating to 4-Bookworms because even though I wanted to cause bodily harm to Dez, this story, for all the discomfort is caused, was worth the listen.