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The reflection : a novel by Hugo Wilcken
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The reflection : a novel (original 2015; edition 2015)

by Hugo Wilcken

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373502,796 (3.13)1
"Hugo Wilcken's first novel, The Execution-a taut, psychological mystery about an average person who commits an accidental murder-got the kind of rave reviews authors dream of- He was compared to Camus and Hitchcock. Now, in his second novel, The Reflection, the comparisons seem even more appropriate- It's a smart, creepy, steadily absorbing mystery about an average law-abiding citizen who finds himself inexplicably caught up in a case of mistaken identities-with one of his own patients. When psychiatrist David Manne is asked by a friend who's a New York City Police detective to consult on an unusual case, he finds himself being asked to evaluate a criminal who's the exact opposite of himself-an uneducated laborer from the Midwest who seems overwhelmed by modern day Manhattan circa 1948. But when that laborer tells David that he's not who the police say he is, David slowly begins to believe it may be true Unable to stop himself, David begins to look into how the police handle the man, and the hospital they take him to . . . and begins to suspect that the man is caught up in some kind of secret governmental medical testing. Realizing he's got to rescue his patient, David quickly fin… (more)
Member:jimctierney
Title:The reflection : a novel
Authors:Hugo Wilcken
Info:Brooklyn, NY : Melville House, [2015]
Collections:Your library
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Tags:to-read

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The Reflection by Hugo Wilcken (2015)

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The description of the book sounds ever so much more exciting than the book itself. "David quickly finds himself battling forces," or "he decides on a risky course that seems his only way out" ... these are not the way I would describe this book. I would use phrases like "David weirdly decides to do nothing," or "David makes choices that seem incomprehensible to the reader," and not just David, so really it should be more like "all the characters behave incomprehensibly" ... so if you want that kind of book, boy, are you in luck!

It adequately conveyed a sense of post-war New Yorkness, but that's about it. Strange plot that never paid off (it feels like the kind of book that will Suddenly Make Sense 95% of the way through it (which is why I kept reading), but no, sadly, it's not that kind of book. In fact, the ending makes no sense at all, really), ciphers as characters--it's frustrating.

If you really dug Doris Lessing's Briefing for a Descent into Hell you may get a similar kick out of this book. If you found that a bit of a slog, this is only slightly less sloggy.

( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
This story is about a cold & aloof psychiatrist who is paranoid, and slightly delusional (?), suspects he is being watched/followed. Then someone pushes him into a subway (or did he jump?). He wakes up In a mental institution. A large portion of the book takes place in the hospital where the doctors try to persuade him he is deluded, that he isn't a psychiatrist after all, but a dock worker. He decides to go along with the ruse while in hospital, but once he gets out, he continues playing the part of the dock worker. He is aware that he was a successful psychiatrist but chooses to play the part they gave him at the institution. He feels more connected to his new identity. Again he feels that someone is watching him.

A very frustrating read. The main character is so detached & unemotional that it is impossible for this reader to care what happened to him, or to care about what was really going on. I almost quit reading numerous times but because it was a short book, i pressed on, just to see how Mr. Wilken ended this bizarre tale. Book-wise, my reading went from the sublime (The Runaway) to the ridiculous (The Reflection). Don't waste your time with this one. ( )
  Icewineanne | Aug 4, 2016 |
A startling masterpiece; not quite able to suss out what transpired but happily okay with that. " ( )
  HollyBest | Jun 9, 2016 |
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"Hugo Wilcken's first novel, The Execution-a taut, psychological mystery about an average person who commits an accidental murder-got the kind of rave reviews authors dream of- He was compared to Camus and Hitchcock. Now, in his second novel, The Reflection, the comparisons seem even more appropriate- It's a smart, creepy, steadily absorbing mystery about an average law-abiding citizen who finds himself inexplicably caught up in a case of mistaken identities-with one of his own patients. When psychiatrist David Manne is asked by a friend who's a New York City Police detective to consult on an unusual case, he finds himself being asked to evaluate a criminal who's the exact opposite of himself-an uneducated laborer from the Midwest who seems overwhelmed by modern day Manhattan circa 1948. But when that laborer tells David that he's not who the police say he is, David slowly begins to believe it may be true Unable to stop himself, David begins to look into how the police handle the man, and the hospital they take him to . . . and begins to suspect that the man is caught up in some kind of secret governmental medical testing. Realizing he's got to rescue his patient, David quickly fin

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