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The Man Without by Ray Robinson
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The Man Without

by Ray Robinson

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"Ray Robinson's debut novel Electricity was one of the best things I read this year ... until I read his second novel The Man Without.

The Man Without has many similarities to Electricity and the language is equally direct. Right at the start of the novel, we see that the hero Antony is trying to sort himself out after a near suicide attempt. Antony also has a childhood of abuse, a father he never knew and a mother who doesn't appear to have had a maternal bone in her body. Now in his twenties, this has left him with some challenging emotions and dangerous sexual fantasies, we get the slightest hint of what's to come at the start of the second chapter:
""Wrapped in a silk kimono and twisting helix of smoke, he flicked through the new copy of Harper's until he found one: a model with a similar pair.""

Veils are gradually lifted until the full effects of Antony's problems are revealed. Prepare to be shocked, but this merely compels you to read on, and hope that he pulls through.

Contrasted against his own problems are those experienced in his job - as a Mental Health Carer. This is particularly expressed in his relationship with one patient, Kenneth - a former vicar suffering from total amnesia and personality change, and suffering from deteriorating relationships with his family that he can't remember. The exchanges between Antony and Kenneth are funny and touching, but reinforce the loss of family that is the central theme of the novel. What Antony the professional carer really needs a family to care for him ...

This novel was stunning - read it." ( )
  gaskella | Oct 16, 2008 |
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Desperate, loveable and utterly confused, Antony Dobson gets a kick out of taking risks, gets a thrill from taking himself right to the edge and, so far at least, back again. But haunted by childhood memories and guarding a dark, humilating secret that he dare not reveal, he's hurtling fast towards the point of no return.… (more)

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