Delusion (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
As its title clearly indicates, Peter Abrahams’s twentieth novel explores the idea of a life lived as a delusion. It was well received by critics and acclaimed as being a model of the suspense genre that goes beyond formula work. In this novel, almost every character holds a belief that undermines and shatters identity, status, and relationships. Focused equally on Nell Jarreau and Alvin DuPree (Pirate), the book uses a limited omniscient point of view that gives readers glimpses into such personality motivators as innocence, naiveté, and barely suppressed anger. The confused maze of DuPree’s mind, in particular, provides a fascinating look at what these qualities mean when one is distanced from trauma by a delusion about what really happened.
The use of irony builds suspense in the novel as the characters reveal aspects of their personalities that uphold their delusional versions of life. DuPree has spent twenty years in prison. During that time he has been both the victim and the perpetrator of violence, but at the beginning of the novel, just before he is released as the result of the emergence of new evidence, he has finally found peace. He has associated himself with the biblical character of Job, internalizing the message of hope found in that book of the Bible. He is sure his favorite verses“And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he...
(The entire section is 1608 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
Booklist 104, no. 11 (February 1, 2008): 5.
Globe & Mail, April 26, 2008, p. D12.
Kirkus Reviews 76, no. 4 (February 15, 2008): 159.
Library Journal 133, no. 7 (April 15, 2008): 70.
Publishers Weekly 255, no. 7 (February 18, 2008): 136.
(The entire section is 21 words.)