The Invaders

Thoughts tibykw by Karolina Waclawiak, Regan Arts. 2015, 236 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books 2016
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Hardback, Library
 Why I read this now: Next up in house book for the Tourney (Bracket here)

MOTIVATION for READING: Doh, the Rooster!

What I said on Goodreads:

Dark. This was a book about sad angry cynical violent depraved souls. And lots of public urination.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The Invaders is a sweeping look at a wealthy ocean-side country club-marina community and also a close look into the private lives of a college-age son and his stepmother who reside there. The community is trying to keep the luxury all to themselves by eliminating any chance of riff-raff having access and our characters are trying to keep hold of their place within. It ain’t pretty.

WHAT’s GOOD: The author skillfully has the reader tentatively rooting for and cheering on Teddy “the son” and Cheryl the “now-aging-once-trophy-wife-stepmom” — or at least attempting to sympathize with them and their challenges of drug addiction and distracted self-pity. There are other sad/creepy  attempts at connection and a hurricane hits. The more distance I have from this the more I like what the author did here and how she told the story. I have to quote Ti in her review at Book Chatter:

I’ve never read a book that I liked and hated as much as this one. I’d flip a page and hate it and then I’d read a paragraph and love it again. I kept going back and forth like that throughout the entire book!

Though I don’t think I swung back and forth so far as love-hate, I was in a rush to read it and hated to put it down. It is quick reading. It is gaining my appreciation the more I think about;  pacing, tone, its ability to be unsettling…

What’s NOT so good: Tom Perrotta is quoted on the cover of the edition I have, “A gut punch of a novel – a scathing look at privilege.” And that is what I had a little bit of trouble with. No one in this community is shown any ability to be kind, or gentle or moral or considerate. As myself, a member of a marina community who could easily be assumed to be person who fits this privileged description — (and I am privileged, I know!) — I found it sad that it would be too easy to assume all people who live in nice places and belong to a club are horrible people. They aren’t. Don’t fall for that stereotype. Just sayin’. This book makes every single person who is a member of this club look depraved.

Perrotta also says “Waclawiak is a remarkable writer.” He may be right.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I wanted to like Cheryl. I think I give more sympathy to Teddy, poor kid. Wow, what a ride! A book club could have a field day with this.


RATING: Four slices of pie. fourpie No pie was mentioned. But lobster was!



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17 thoughts on “The Invaders

  1. A book club wouldn’t even know where to start with this one.

    I agree. There is something about it that stays with you. I finished it a long time ago and yet I still find myself going back to it. The sense of longing… so realistic. That ending! I won’t mention here but the author did not pull any punches with it.

  2. I had pretty much given a pass to all of the TOB selections, but you sold me on this one. Then again, your reference to a lot of public urination made me laugh enough to have sold me as well. 😉

    1. Sometimes, simplifying is a good way to change it up! I made it a template and with copy-post, it makes it easy. Enjoy, hope it can be helpful when you need it.

  3. I laughed at your quote from Goodreads. It reminds me of the book I read once that had a lot of chimpanzee masturbation. Too much.
    This book sounds good, but I’m glad you thought to remind us that some privileged people are nice. Cause it’s true. 🙂

  4. I wrote off the TOB selections, too, but you and Ti have me dying of curiosity here. I’m supposed to be reading What Maisie Knew for a readalong, Death with an Ocean View for review, and sticking to the TBR Dare. But instead, I’ve just downloaded a sample of The Invaders!

  5. From my experience of being in a book club for almost 10 years(!), the best discussions arise when we read something that people don’t wholeheartedly love. (The Dinner, We Need to Talk About Kevin, etc.) This one might have to be among my next suggestions when it’s my time to host.

    1. Very true, but at least two people have to love it to balance out the haters for fun to happen. If only one person loved it, they might not let anyone know! But oh so true I love-hate book is the best.

  6. My dad owns a boat! Admittedly it is a teeny wee little boat like a matchbox that he made himself with a wee little motor that we all chipped in to buy for him. BUT STILL; and he is the loveliest person.

    I very quickly lose patience with books where all the characters are just purely loathsome. As you say, it’s not realistic! People aren’t all the way jerks any more than they’re all the way nice. So to my mind, it’s just another kind of laziness on the part of the author.

  7. aartichapati

    This is totally unrelated to your post, but WHAT, you changed your blog name? I feel like you’re going to say something like, “Um, Aarti, I changed it 10 months ago, WTF?” but I definitely just realized it now.

    This book sounds polarizing, but I am glad you ended up on the like side of the pole 🙂

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