Reviews > Published on July 10th, 2015

Bookshots: 'The Invaders' by Karolina Waclawiak

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


The Invaders

Who wrote it?

A welcome return to the harsher tone of classics like 'The Stepford Wives' or 'The Graduate'.

Karolina Waclawiak, editor of The Believer and author of How to Get into the Twin Palms, which was published in 2012 by Two Dollar Radio. The Invaders is her second novel. More info at her website.

Plot in a Box:

The exclusive beach community of Little Neck Cove closes ranks against outsiders while simultaneously disintegrating from within.

Invent a new title for this book:

White Privileged Mischief

Read this if you liked:

The Ice Storm by Rick Moody

Meet the book’s lead(s):

Cheryl: isolated and lonely wife of often-absent businessman Jeffrey

Teddy: Jeffrey’s college drop out son

Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

Kim Cattrall would make a perfect Cheryl and I’d like Michael Cera for Teddy.

Setting: would you want to live there?

I was born within hearing distance of the sea. You betcha.

What was your favorite sentence?

They weren’t sorry, but the man nodded and said, “It’s been beautiful here for a long while. Thanks for the fish.”

The Verdict :

Little Neck Cove, Connecticut, dormitory for New York execs, might appear picture perfect in long shot, but by page two of The Invaders, as Cheryl takes a walk in her beach side community and comes across a ‘dirt caked Barbie doll with kite string wrapped around her arms’ we understand that a close up image isn’t as flattering. Little Neck Cove would be perfect without the people, Cheryl thinks, during one of her long walks through the nature reserve, a sentiment shared by her neighbour Lori, so long as those people are the Spanish speaking outsiders who fish the bay. An act of violence convinces Lori that a fence must go up around the community, but not Cheryl, who happens to be responsible for the attack.

We fear the stranger, when violence usually comes from those closest to us. The fence becomes a trap, with only the free-wheeling Tuck recognizing its destructive power. Numbed and lonely, Cheryl and Teddy stumble towards disaster, hurting themselves, hurting each other, and though the hypocrisies and toxicity of suburban life aren’t new territory for fiction, The Invaders presents a welcome return to the harsher tone of classics like The Stepford Wives or The Graduate. The message of this book is a quiet one, but it’s timely and one we should pay attention to: you pay a price for privilege, says The Invaders, and sometimes that price is much higher than you expect.

About the author

Cath Murphy is Review Editor at and cohost of the Unprintable podcast. Together with the fabulous Eve Harvey she also talks about slightly naughty stuff at the Domestic Hell blog and podcast.

Three words to describe Cath: mature, irresponsible, contradictory, unreliable...oh...that's four.

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