Willy In An Isolated School For Boys With Emotional Problems, A Disturbed Adolescent Struggles Against A Mire Of Superstition And Oppression Then He Meets Willy, And The Other Boy Charismatic And Strange Saves Him Or Damns Him WILLY, An Atmospheric Novel Of Suspense By The Author Of THE PINES, THE SHORE And MARTYRS MONSTERS, Becomes Both An Evocation Of Painful Growth And A Dark Psychological Thriller

Robert Dunbar is the author of the THE PINES TRILOGY, a series of supernatural thrillers THE PINES and THE SHORE and THE STREETS These novels have garnered extremely positive reviews, attracting a great many readers, and the author often blogs about his adventures in the genre world here at Goodreads.

[BOOKS] ✯ Willy  ✹ Robert Dunbar – Ultimatetrout.info
  • Paperback
  • 272 pages
  • Willy
  • Robert Dunbar
  • English
  • 19 September 2018
  • 9780983045724

10 thoughts on “Willy

  1. says:

    A thrilling, creepy, atmospheric tale of oppression and friendship, with one of the most remarkable unreliable narrators I ve read Perhaps the most difficult unreliable narrator challenge, for a writer, is the art of immersing the reader in a character through the language alone making how the character speaks reflective of who he or she is Dunbar pulls this off to perfection, with language that s not quite right in many ways, which tells us so much without having to explicitly tell us anything The novel packs quite an emotional punch and has a literary eloquence that will take your breath away.

  2. says:

    I have mixed feeling about this book I was expecting a horror, but it is of a suspense I consider a horror something that tries to scare me Willy did not do this I was expecting a Gay novel, but this is a coming of age, consummated hero worship novel ie, you and hero become friends Even with my strong tendency to make all protagonists Gay in my mind, I did not get a sense of this at all The boys were cute, though I think a part of the problem came from my expectations I had not read much about the book, but had seen how others had shelved the book largely horror and GLBT and had seen the types of sites that reviewed it horror sites I would call this a suspense or psychologic thriller or mystery It instilled a strong sense that something was going to happen, something either queer or horrifying I really don t know if that sense comes from expectations or from the book But the d nouement is too fuzzy for a mystery suspense thriller, at least for me That I like books with ambiguous resolutions or ending underscores this The best novels, IMO, allow me to decide the ultimate outcome, or meaning from my own experiences I felt I needed from Willy, though I feel there is too much ambiguity I wonder if knowing from Willy s point of view would have helped me, if Willy is indeed real Amended All that said, I liked the book thus 4 stars, as a mouse over pops up really liked it The main characters were complex and interesting and I would like to find out about them The milieu was very well painted Overall the book is well written I still feel chilled from the snow and wind and have a sense of ennui that permeated the scholl s hallways The journey was a good one The destination left me feeling half empty, as perhaps it was.I have not read much modern horror , so maybe am too inexperienced to really get it Or maybe I just did not get it period Perhaps a re read will help probably will do if it comes up for discussion Perhaps the best thing I can say is that I feel a need to understand WillyI m still thinking about this book which means it s better than the 3 stars I originally gave it I think I got too caught up with genre concerns and should have taken what was given view spoiler I kept waiting them to at least kiss, so I could put it in my gay fiction category and get lusty hide spoiler

  3. says:

    Original review posted on Layers of Thought A disturbing and poignant coming of age story with elements of suspense and psychological terror which verges on the paranormal.About Arriving at his most recent boy s school, the story s narrator is among a number of marginal young adults living at the facility, perhaps with behavior problems or mental health issues quintessential lost boys The school appears to be their last resort before incarceration or asylums.The story has a murky and gothic feeling being set in an icy wintery season, containing dysfunctional adult characters, and taking place within decrepit halls and dusty corridors Amazingly the story teller is never named Lost in the system and within himself, our narrator tells his tale via cryptic journal entries, through which we see that he is damaged as he enters yet another broken educational facility.Enter Willy, a charismatic, intelligent and contrastingly wealthy roommate to our story teller He sees through the fa ade of the school and its teachers, and assists the boys to understand they are of value especially our unnamed character But this comes at a price, and as the story progresses the reader can only guess what is really going on.My Thoughts Through the narrator s journaling, appropriate for a young person s developing writing skills, the reader is led on a dark roller coaster ride with only small glints of hopefulness We see a lack of self worth, dark teacher student conflict, and a crooked system where the needs of the lost and disabled are not met by teachers administrators This is contrasted with emerging feelings of self discovery, including youthful romantic angst, and some normal coming of age fun and games.Robert Dunbar s grasp of the human experience is heart piercing and he clearly understands these lost souls Here, Willy is speaking to our main character You don t know what you are You re lost in yourself and you can t always be Would be a tragedy Yes No Don t nod like that You don t understand Are you even awake enough to hear It would be a tragedy because you feel, and you can t imagine how rare that is, not yet But you could Be strong If you survive long enough One thing I think may be difficult for some readers is accessing the narrator s language a key to the story It is choppy with some stream of consciousness thought which gives it a dissociative feel However, I loved it and was at the edge of my seat while reading the book The author effectively uses this and a variety of techniques to create a combination of angst and chillsIn summary Willy, with its bits of resolution and redemption, was hard to put down I think that it will be enjoyable for many mainstream readers, especially those who enjoy coming of age stories, stories that border on paranormal, and those that leave the reader wondering how it will all work out There is some light m m romance and glbt intimacy with tasteful sexual allusions, and also some slightly strong language and gore This novel is distinctly intelligent, emotionally insightful and alarming the reader is left with only a reference, a wonder, and a delicious dark suspicion of what has actually occurred This genre blending story gets 4 stars in my opinion I loved it

  4. says:

    This rating is for you folks I love reviewing the reviewers Very little of my work has been as personal or as deeply felt as this book, and I never imagined that readers would respond so strongly There s a lesson here about trusting your own process I hope I ve absorbed it I m deeply moved by all these wonderful comments Thank you, everyone.

  5. says:

    Excerpt Then I tumbled over a stiff knob of root that twisted like tree guts green green wet deep taste green and a little red Slow to get up Twigs and dead grass stuck to me, but I like to feel them on my skin, the needles, in the palms of my hands, like I m not just myself but part of ithe woods Kneeling there, it felt like I was thanking them for Willy In Robert Dunbar s WILLY, passage after passage is worthy of note In some sections, one senses a deliberate choice made for every word a remarkable feat, given it is written as fourteen year old s journal, complete with spelling errors WILLY drips with atmosphere and tension.Dunbar s protagonist is a troubled boy newly arrived at yet another reform school or a dump as Willy calls it, a dump for all the kids no one wants to deal with any He s been abandoned and beaten down for so long he s forgotten anything else Until he meets his roommate, Willy, and is taken under his wing.Willy seems to all but run the school, battling its warped teachers, leading its damaged pupils, despite bouts of some mysterious illness The teachers hate and fear of him is palpable And yet, the boys love Willy He is kind to the MC, protecting him, transforming him But there is something sinister about Willy He sees, he knows, too much He is too aware Excerpt You don t know what you are You re lost in yourself and can t always be Would be a tragedy Yes No Don t nod like that You don t understand Are you even awake enough to hear It would be a tragedy because you feel, and you can t imagine how rare that is, not yet But you could Be strong If you can survive long enough So Willy tells the protagonist In Willy s world, survival is not guaranteed.Dunbar layers the plot with depth and subtlety The MC is an unreliable narrator with an imperfect memory and a distinct lack of mental stability He is damaged and desperate for love His attachment to Willy borders on frantic To inhabit his reality is intoxicating And creepy.The intimacy between Willy and the protagonist is delicately displayed, never feeling heavy handed the hesitations, the tests of loyalty, of love are right The narrator s self expression gradually matures, as Willy draws him out of his shell.Novels written in the format of a character s journal can be problematic There is the danger of the narrator knowing too much, or relaying information in a way that kills the tension, whether through a disbelief the character would write something a particular way, or simply losing the immediacy of events Dunbar pulls it off I never felt manipulated as details were revealed, as characters showed their colors Dunbar leaves it to the reader to draw their own conclusions If you only like unambiguous endings, WILLY isn t for you.I won t give any away This is my introduction to Robert Dunbar s work, and I cannot recommend it enough I can t help but be impressed by the balance between intense emotion and the dislocation of reality.

  6. says:

    If you hallucinate once, the line between the real and the imaginary can be blurred forever But isn t this the very origin and beauty of fiction On the pages of the journal of a youth growing up in isolation, Dunbar ties the knot between experience and the very process of writing, between the world and the word from the very first words, which open like a chasm under the reader s feet to suck us deep into the consciousness of a boy who struggles to make sense of the world, and is compelled, not so much by the suggestion of a psychiatrist, but by his own need to communicate and to explain his world to himself, whom we first meet being dropped off at the gates of a new school of eternal winter, a Cocytus where students society has forsaken are parked like cars no one sees any use for any .Swept in by the vernal winds that blow on the pages of the boy s account comes Willy, one of the most mysterious entities I have ever met in Literature, yet, one thing is sure, Willy is intelligent, smart, educated and the centre of the boy s and soon of the school s attention Growing up in broken sentences at first, and developing thoughts alongside vocabulary and structure, the boy finds his own aptitude as Dr Spenser says through Willy for those who suffer from the same malaise, like myself, that aptitude is both a blessing and a damnation Poetry Willy is an emotional roller coaster hanging in the skies of solipsism, beaten by the cold winds of Bildungsroman, mystery, that rises on the waves of Literature that break with violence onto the beach of self awareness, and roar with the hellish uncertainties of Human psychology and the impossibility of awareness It had me laughing out loud one moment, weeping the next, admiring Dunbar s creative genius and mastery of the written word and original fusion of structures, traditions, and themes A wonderful read at all levels.

  7. says:

    A young boy with serious emotional and or mental problems is unceremoniously dropped off at a school for last chance cases The campus is foreboding, the staff is unfeeling, unhelpful, or just plain creepy, his roommate is nowhere to be found All he has to keep himself company is his journal, which some former counselor urged him to write in as often as possible So he does throughout a series of increasingly disturbing events, and a friendship which threatens to either save or utterly destroy him.Telling than this would involve spoilers, and this is much too remarkable an experience to spoil Lovers of classic horror, quiet horror, the Gothic, or the weird should put this concisely lyrically written novel on their to read lists immediately.

  8. says:

    Robert Dunbar s previous novels The Pines and The Shore were enjoyable reads but it was his 2009 collection Martyr s and Monsters which really showed what he was capable of Intense emotion, fascinating characters and original ideas sprang from that book like water from a burst pipe Now he has his own publishing company, Uninvited Books and a brand new novel, Willy.The book takes the form of a first person narrative, being written as a form of therapy good practice for reality by a crazy adolescent The unnamed boy is in a state of despair, dark, suicidal and unable to communicate, he has been shipped to a special school, a dumping ground for difficult boys For the first fifty or so pages we are confronted with bleak visions of the school and it s uncaring or worse, sadistic members of staff Salvation comes in the form of Willy, our narrators roommate Willy is an even mysterious boy who seems to float into and through the story, his fellow pupils see him as a messianic hero figure, his teachers are wary, even afraid of him The novel then unfolds as the boy s relationship grows Several adventures with hints of One Flew Over The Cuckoo s Nest crossed with Stand by Me gradually reveal details and also mysteries building into a stunning and emotionally intense finale.Throughout the book new questions are asked but very few are answered This is an extremely effective device which not only keeps the narration realistic but which allows us to empathise with the narrator Frequently we are as confused, nervous, tense and excited as he is which forms a deep connection between the reader and the main character It also allows the book s sense of mystery to grow, where lesser authors may have revealed details of Willy s past history, conflicts with teachers etc Dunbar reveals very little Only enough to tease the reader and set the foundations, we are left to build our own back story.The characters are never less than fascinating Thankfully the author has avoided the usual aggressive teenager stereotypes and instead concentrated on developing a group of boys who have somehow become disconnected from society and in some cases reality Blame is not apportioned, details are not revealed but societies inability to deal with these boys and its solution of removing them to a place, well away from normal society, is brutally revealed Of course it s not just the pupils who are the main characters, the teachers too are revealed as vulnerable, troubled and often just as dysfunctional.With Willy, Robert Dunbar has taken the plotting and pacing of his earlier novels and added the emotional maturity of his later stories to produce a compulsive, deeply moving piece of work His best work to date it succeeds on every level to create a challenging yet accessible novel This isn t your average horror story, in fact this isn t a horror story at all There is no supernatural threat and the only monsters are human ones but it does have the sensibilities of a horror story It builds on a darkness within us all but is not constrained by genre, in this way it s comparable to Cormac McCarthy s The Road, bleak, desolate and literate Highly Recommended.

  9. says:

    I ve been thinking about this book a lot, which to me is an indicator of a great novel It s the kind of book that leaves unanswered questions and drops hints throughout to let you draw your own conclusions There are things I m not really sure about and I will definitely have to read this again later.Other reviewers have summarized this book pretty well, so I won t do that, I ll instead just give my impressions of it As someone who is familiar with the struggles of mental illness and being a social outcast in school, the narrator s language and feelings resonated with me I felt that he wrote with both social naivete and startling insight into people, if that makes sense The part where he saw guys beating up the fat kid and the teacher not caring much showed that he did understand the darker parts of human nature The descriptions he gave were lyrical and creative One of my favorite descriptions was from a walk in the woods, The mounds of pine needles feel all brown and rubbery, which is nice to step on, all splotched with gray like blood from clouds I felt like I was given little treats throughout with phrases like that.If you re a frequent horror reader, you probably do not expect a happy ending Sometimes I feel like authors tack on some saccharine ending to keep the reader from feeling sad inside when it s over You know what I hate that The ending of this book was a bit ambiguous, but I did feel chilled inside and a bit unsettled when it was over Another reviewer stated that they felt the ending had a hopeful note to it Either way you interpret this book, I think at least it makes you FEEL Any book or movie for that matter that evokes an emotional response from me is a good one I also believe any book that can have multiple interpretations has to be a layered, complex, masterful work.In summary, WILLY is an amazing novel It made me think of Shirley Jackson, Joyce Carol Oates, or Henry James if James didn t ramble on so much WILLY deserves to become a classic of literary horror.

  10. says:

    Excellent book.My full review can be read at Dark Scribe Magazine.

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