Unravelling Oliver

  • by Liz Nugent
  • Narrated by Sam O'Mahony, Roy McMillan, Kevin Hely, Tracy Keating, Stephen Hogan, Kathy O'Brien, Steven Laverty, Michele Moran
  • 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent.
Winner - IBA Crime Fiction Book of the Year.
Liz Nugent's gripping audiobook of psychological suspense, Unravelling Oliver, is a complex and elegant study of the making of a sociopath in the tradition of Barbara Vine and Patricia Highsmith.
Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, Alice, who illustrates his award-winning children's books and gives him her unstinting devotion. Their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease - enviable until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice and beats her into a coma. In the aftermath, as everyone tries to make sense of his astonishing act of savagery, Oliver tells his story. So do those whose paths he has crossed over five decades. What unfolds is a story of shame, envy, breathtaking deception and masterful manipulation.
Only Oliver knows the lengths to which he has had to go to get the life to which he felt entitled. But even he is in for a shock when the past catches up with him.
Liz Nugent has worked in Irish film, theatre and television for most of her adult life. She is an award-winning writer of radio and television drama and has written short stories for children and adults.
Unravelling Oliver is her first novel.

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What the Critics Say

"Truly excellent, beautifully written...strongly recommended." (Sophie Hannah)
"Compelling, clever and dark, unlike any other psychological thriller you will have read before...you'll gobble it up in one go." (Heat Magazine)
"Incredibly brilliant." (Marian Keyes)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Engaging, Original and Very Well Crafted

Not for the first time recently I find myself debating what constitutes a thriller.  This one certainly opens with a real punch of an opening line which I won't quote because it is one of the most powerful moments in the book and one of the biggest "signals" towards the gradual unravelling of Oliver.  It's a single sentence that with a jolt takes you from your comfortable listening place into the mind of Oliver.  In those few words I realised that I was in the hands of a talented author. What follows is a classy set of narrators who take us through decades of history before and after that event to gradually disentangle the web of Oliver's life.

It is simply a story and does not moralise or instruct, it merely guides us through a classic question of nature versus nurture.  It's largely very gentle but I found that the structure of the book was very well suited to the larger cast of narrators.  Mostly, and I am no great judge of accents, I felt they gave an authentic glimpse into an Ireland when prejudices against homosexuality and single mothers was considerably more prevalent.  It revealed how Oliver was forged between neglect, constraint and opportunity and where it took him and those he knew.

I don't actually want to write more as this is a fairly brief and mostly gentle "human" tale that I really enjoyed.  The central character is one you will likely develop very strong views about though they will fluctuate because in the final analysis the purpose of the story is to form a judgement on him.  I'd call it engaging, original and very well crafted.  I wouldn't personally call it a "thriller", more of a "drama" as Nugent's approach to weaving the threads of her story is actually quite subtle in a mesmerising fashion.
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- Simon

An astoundingly good second novel.

Any additional comments?

I so loved the debut book of Liz Nugent that I ordered and listened to this second novel directly after finishing the first. Sometimes the second book is difficult to live up to the hype of the first but this was even better. The main character in the novel is a very twisted, manipulative and sad person who seems to shatter lives around him. The narrators were all perfect. The main thing the story left me with was how very important ones relationship with their young children is and how their future lives pivot on this upbringing. I do hope I don't have to wait too long before Liz Nugent's next book.

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- Cabaspre

Book Details

  • Release Date: 27-07-2017
  • Publisher: Penguin