Looker is a biting character piece about a woman’s quiet step by step unraveling with dire consequences. I will say right now that it is not a mystery which I’ve seen it being marketed that way and one of the reason’s I picked it up, there are twist, but it’s more like oh the person is taking it that far, than having a twist that changes everything. My problem is this story kept reminding me of other works, but added nothing new. I was reminded a lot of Tandolfo the Great by Richard Bausch, a short story about obsession and depression, and how he just want’s to see the cake get ran over to feel something, and watch a disaster take place. The story reminded me so much of Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal since Looker has almost all of the story beats, and the lead is an obsessed teacher, with other similarities as well. Not to crap on the author because there’s some very good prose, character work, and I did like the ending but, I truly felt as I’ve read this story and been inside this character’s head before.
The Plot: An anonymous woman narrates this tale through various thoughts and some fantasies. The woman is dragged down and depressed with not being able to have a child despite her trying and taking several hormone shots but remains barren. Her husband eventually leaves her because of this, he leaves her with the cat (whose oddly enough named cat) the narrator tells us it’s his cat and she has a love hate relationship with it. This situation seems to have brought her closer together. She ends up hating every woman who has children, for secretly judging her. Her newest obsession is an famous actress who lives down the block, the narrator always feels like an actress acting her way through like and develops a sick obsession with collecting all the actress’s families junk. Having fantasies about the actress’s husband and taking over her life. Her obsession hits a breaking point when she steals the actress’s daughter’s tricycle. When will the narrator stop this obsession?
What I Liked: The wording is really and metaphors are thought provoking, the narrator’s voice and how she see’s the world is written really well, you will feel sorry for her and have some empathy up to a point. The cat, named cat is my favorite character and enjoyed every scene the cat was in. The ending was good I liked where the narrator’s character went, but I don’t feel it was backed up enough in the text. I liked how far this novel goes, I thought at times the author would wimp out of some scenes but the novel goes there in surprising ways.
What I Disliked: The story need to be different and original, and it was just way too close to Notes on a Scandal for me to throughly enjoy. There’s a couple too many fantasies just made to question the narrator if that was real or not, I don’t mind a couple but there was at least ten. I didn’t feel the narrator’s obsession with the actress’s performance and the ending really relies on this and I didn’t feel that I felt she was more obsessed with her celebrity than acting. I felt that the jealousy and obsession with babies and be barren was the best thing, but it’s almost dropped when she meets the actress who has kids! I felt it would have been more powerful and would have separated Looker from being compared to Notes on a Scandal in my opinion.
Recommendations: This is by first book of the year that’s published in 2019, and I can not recommend it, there’s some good writing and this is the author’s debut, but the story needs focus and something new. I would be interested in checking future works from this author. I rated this 3 out of 5 stars.