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A couple of these also have thriller elements, but none of his other books ever saw the light of day as mass-market paperbacks in his lifetime and enjoyed rather small print runs. Tony and Susan is a tough book to summarize without indulging in a variety of spoilers, which would detract from its reading and its often surprising twists.

Many years before the book opens, Edward and Susan were childhood sweethearts who belatedly came together whilst at university and married. She supports the both of them as an assistant teacher while Edward seeks his muse, albeit in vain, until the time comes when Susan begins to resent his pursuit of the seemingly unattainable, and begins an affair with Arnold, a doctor who happens to live in the same building and offers her a better prospect of a bourgeois life.

Edward and Susan part, with few bad feelings, divorce and go their separate ways. Later, Edward gives up on his writing and launches a career in the insurance business. Susan has children with Arnold, who has become a successful if sometimes philandering surgeon, and settles into a comfortable life in the suburbs. Twenty-five years after their separation, out of the blue, Susan hears from Edward again.

He has finally written a novel and is keen for her to comment on his manuscript. Surprised by this development, she reluctantly accepts and the book arrives in the post. But then, why did Edward send her the manuscript? The novel we read, as Susan does, is about a professor of mathematics at a Cincinnati university, Tony Hastings.

He is happily married to Laura, a painter, and they have a teenage daughter, Helen. As they do every summer, they embark on the long drive up to their summer house in Maine. At night, in the middle of nowhere, their car is rudely jostled by another driver and Tony reacts with sudden pique, as a result of which the occupants of the other vehicle react strongly, and soon Tony and his family are being held hostage by three unknown men. Then begins a long descent into horror and terrifying violence to body and soul, a calvary for the meekish man that Tony is.

As the tale develops, Tony will descend to the very depths of bedazzlement, pain, and eventually stark revenge. As Susan reads this book, it begins to put her life and beliefs into a new context, and a dialogue between writer and reader evolves, which questions the very fundamentals of fiction writing and human relationships. Unlike the often wonderful variations on meta-fiction by the likes of Paul Auster , Tony and Susan is first and foremost a book about people who are made of flesh and blood beyond the ruminations of their intellect.

S Well. So when this book turns up many years later - both of them now married to new people the question is why? This novel is unusual as we get to be Susan. We are in her mind and feel her feelings as she reads the novel but we are also reading the book he's written too. So it's like reading two books in one. Both writing styles are very different. Clever of the author to do that. The actual manuscript story had me hooked and riveted.

One hell of a twisted tale.


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The characters in the manuscript are fantastic. The dark, menacing bad ones especially so. The author did a top notch job of really making the characters just as central to this novel as the plot. In saying that I did struggle with "knowing" Susan fully. In a way it's meant to be like that I think as we switch between reading the manuscript and Susan's current days as she reads it whilst her husband is away on a business trip. As Susan reads she shares and reflects on her past life with her ex but also what the book is making her feel and what is stirred up.

Extract from Tony and Susan by Austin Wright - Telegraph

It's an interesting perspective to be a reader, in a characters mind as they read a book. Layers upon layers. Quite unusual. I liked this more than I expected. It's not a light book, it requires some focus and attention. It's incredibly good because you not only want to know how the manuscript story ends but also how Susan's story ends after she's finished the book. Her ex sent her a note requesting to meet her you see, after many years to hear her opinion on his book.

You are questioning all the time many things within these two storylines that really are one. If the manuscript was published as a novel in its own right then I loved it. Some aspects of Susan's reading perspective and how it's projected is why this didn't hit 5 stars overall for me. But know this - I highly recommend this book if you fancy something different, somewhat challenging and to be led where you don't know where either ending will land. It's impossible to predict either.


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  6. The manuscript story is thrilling, with aspects of crime, justice, grief and the dark side of human beings. I was eager to keep going back into that part of this novel. The author sadly passed away in , he has however left behind a great novel. The book was first published in then had a resurgence in with republication. I'll be seeing what other books he may have written. Such a unique and memorable book this was. So I give this 4, almost 4. So, dare you step into the pages dear reader? Please do. Something out of the ordinary is great. I read a paperback edition of this book, bought new in Waterstones.

    Tony and Susan

    A movie has been made of this book called Nocturnal Animals, starting Jake Gyllenhall which I am keen to try to see. This book annoyed me to the point of madness. It was filled with unbelievable situations,ridiculous choices and irritating ,ineffectual characters. I am floored that someone read this book and proclaimed,"This book will make a great movie,someone get Gyllenhaal on the phone" It was as pointless as my dog chasing her tail,but a least she seems to get enjoyment from it.

    View all 5 comments. Originally published as Tony and Susan , Nocturnal Animals is described on the cover as "extraordinary", "nail-biting", "truly horrifying", "gripping and unsettling", "absorbing, terrifying, beautiful and appalling, unforgettable".

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    So, I thought I was in for a thrilling ride. It's the story of Susan Morrow, who receives a manuscript from her ex-husband Ed. Ed and Susan haven't spoken in years, so this is completely out of the blue. Susan reads the novel in three sittings, and we get to read it wi Originally published as Tony and Susan , Nocturnal Animals is described on the cover as "extraordinary", "nail-biting", "truly horrifying", "gripping and unsettling", "absorbing, terrifying, beautiful and appalling, unforgettable". Susan reads the novel in three sittings, and we get to read it with her, so the chapters are split between Ed's novel called Nocturnal Animals, hence the title and Susan's reaction to it.

    We also get chapters about Susan's life. Ed has told Susan he will be visiting and wants to speak to her about the book as "she was always his best critic.

    Tony and Susan Summary & Study Guide Description

    Tony is driven off in one car, his wife and daughter in another - and that's the last time he sees them alive. We follow Tony's journey to find justice for his family and to seek revenge.

    The Title Says It All

    Ed's novel was choppy - it's hard to get into it at first, but then the story takes off. I really enjoyed the first part - I actually enjoyed the entire first pages or so of this novel as a whole, I liked the build up and I liked Susan's reaction. I hated Tony, I thought he was a fool, but that usually isn't enough to turn me off a book. What turned me off here was the promise of action, the hint of excitement - why is Susan worried? Is this a threat from Ed?

    Is he plotting something? Is there something wrong? Is it a message to Susan? I raced through Ed's novel to get to Susan's "real life" chapters and was treated to pages and pages of her reminiscing about stuff that had happened when she was married to Ed, or about wondering if her new boring husband Arnold was being faithful. It was so, so boring.

    A "gripping, thrilling ride" this is not. Yes, Ed's fictional story is mildly interesting, but it just reads like an amateur crime novel in need of a good editor which it is, I suppose.

    Nocturnal Animals: Previously published as Tony and Susan

    I feel like we were being set up for something and it just didn't happen. I feel duped. Total and utter waste of reading time - the story within a story has been a thing for centuries Shakespeare even did it - and I like it - but it only makes sense if there's a connection between fiction and reality, otherwise it's just a woman reading a boring book. Or, in this case, a woman who spent the guts of two weeks reading a boring book about a woman reading a boring book.


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