Saturday, 11 January 2014


Inexcusable by Chris Lynch

"I am a good guy. Good guys don't do bad things. Good guys understand that no means no, and so I could not have done this because I understand." Keir Sarafian knows many things about himself. He is a talented football player, a loyal friend, a devoted son and brother. Most of all, he is a good guy.

And yet the love of his life thinks otherwise. Gigi says Keir has done something awful. Something unforgivable.

Keir doesn't understand. He loves Gigi. He would never do anything to hurt her. So Keir carefully recounts the events leading up to that one fateful night, in order to uncover the truth. Clearly, there has been a mistake.

But what has happened is, indeed, something inexcusable.
This is one of those books that had the potential to be something really great, but ended up being just meh. That's really the only word I can think of to accurately describe it. I was going to go for boring, but the beginning was quite good and I have to admit there were parts that I enjoyed, but they were few and far between.

My real problem was that this book didn't deliver what I was expecting. This is true of many books I read, but this was particularly galling for me. I love an unreliable narrator, but this wasn't quite that. I was under the impression, given the synopsis, that Keir's girlfriend accused him of rape and he said it was consensual. The whole he-said-she-said nature of rape accusations is what drew me to this book, the implication that it would explore the grey areas of the subject intrigued me. That's not what this book is.

It opens with Gigi accusing Keir of rape and him denying it.

Then we get Keir's whole life story in excruciating detail. Occasionally, we go back to Keir and Gigi in the hotel room (I think it was a hotel room) having the exact same conversation over and over again. That's basically it. And although we can't rely on Keir to tell the truth about himself, I think it's actually very clear what he's really like, he just can't see it. Part of the greatness of an unreliable narrator, for me anyway, is not actually knowing what's true and what isn't. Having to make your own judgement about what could have happened. Keir was clearly a jerk - to put it lightly - but thought he was fine.

What might have helped this book is if Gigi had been given a voice. It's all told from Keir's boring perspective, but I think to hear from Gigi might have been interesting. How she saw what happened that night, and in the weeks leading up to it. Honestly, this book just made me even more intrigued to read Christa Desir's Fault Line, which I might have to bite the bullet and just buy in hardback now, rather than waiting for the paperback edition.

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