Publication Date: October 31, 2013
A man with a troubled childhood and multiple personalities seeks revenge on the woman who cheated on him 10 years before.
The author, Marc Horn, gave me a copy of this novel as an advanced reader’s copy (ARC). As always with ARCs, contents may change before the publication date.
Persona is a brutally raw psychological thriller. The backstories and emotions of the character and the storyline in which a man who is insane is trying to drive a woman insane by targeting her and her family members. Horn’s damaged, narcissistic and misogynistic characters are worthy of Bret Easton Ellis and “The Last Days of Disco” by Wilt Stillman. While some of the narratives are difficult to read, the characters are no less interesting.
Horn’s strength is his character development. The main character is embodied in several characters in the novel though that’s not immediately evident. Each character builds a layer on his storyline with the unifying factor that he was a boy tortured by his mother who witnessed his father killing her. He is desperately romantic and invested in the area of being driven by fate. Fate led him to Jen; they were meant to be. Interestingly, Horn ties this idea of lack of control within his childhood where he had no protection against the beatings issued by his mother. He doesn’t love Stacey, but he’s not the one to choose who he loves, so he’s invested in the idea of being in love with her. He equates being debased with being in love in the most interesting way. His psychology is riveting.
One of the best lines in the novel comes from the main character’s best friend, Dave. He tells Stacey never to two-time his friend, and after we’ve seen what he put Jen through, truer words were never spoken in the novel. As interesting as the main character is, Dave’s devotion and determination to protect him is equally fascinating. When his mother was killed, the main character lives with Dave’s family and bonds with him. We know that Dave is in love with him and even describes himself as his guardian angel at one point. He clearly knows of the shifts in persona and goes with them. Ben pretends to be aware, but Dave acts as a grounding force.
The language of the piece is very English. With the invasion of British comedians to our shores, I believe that any American reader these days won’t have a problem with the literary lilt of the characters.
As I mentioned, Persona is quite a raw work. There’s a lot of graphic sex. This is not an erotica novel; the sexual activity is such that serves a point in the storyline. The language is quite crass. I cannot tell you how many times a certain word thought to be the worst thing you can say to a woman is used. That said, it’s not without purpose. You would not believe the character and his actions were talking about bunnies and rainbows. Persona is a very strong and confident piece well aware of its place in alt literature.
Persona was a fabulous read. Pick it up when available and let me know if you think it’s as good as I did.
Read on excerpt and buy Persona: (Psychological Thriller) by Marc Horn on