David Pepin has been in love with his wife, Alice, since the moment they met in a university seminar on Alfred Hitchcock. After thirteen years of marriage, he still cant imagine a remotely happy life without heryet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she is dead, and David is both deeply distraught and the prime suspect.
The detectives investigating Alices suspicious death have plenty of personal experience with conjugal enigmas: Ward Hastroll is happily married until his wife inexplicably becomes voluntarily and militantly bedridden; and Sam Sheppard is especially sensitive to the intricacies of marital guilt and innocence, having decades before been convicted and then exonerated of the brutal murder of his wife.
Still, these men are in the business of figuring things out, even as Pepins role in Alices death grows ever more confounding when they link him to a highly unusual hit man called Mobius. Like the Escher drawings that inspire the computer games David designs for a living, these complex, interlocking dramas are structurally and emotionally intense, subtle, and intriguing; they brilliantly explore the warring impulses of affection and hatred, and pose a host of arresting questions. Is it possible to know anyone fully, completely?Are murder and marriage two sides of the same coin, each endlessly recycling into the other? And what, in the end, is the truth about love?
Mesmerizing, exhilarating, and profoundly moving, Mr. Peanut is a police procedural of the soul, a poignant investigation of the relentlessly mysterious human heartand a first novel of the highest order.
What Ross does well is to encourage readers to make connections between the three couples' situations by weaving similar details throughout all three stories. His use of description, particularly his sense of place (whether in New York, Hawaii or Ohio) transports readers and allows the setting to contribute to the telling of the story....I waiver between recommending this book and not, but I think that if you take the time to consider it, especially if you have the commitment to read it a second time, there are many interesting conversations to be had. (Reviewed by Elena Spagnolie).
It's a unique book—stark and sublime, creepy and fearless—that readers into the darker end of the literary spectrum won't want to miss.
The author has created an absorbing puzzle and handles the writing with skill, but the world inside this novel is fairly bleak and unsavory. Recommended for ambitious readers.
Starred Review. A Möbius strip of a novel, folding the unsavory anticipation of American Psycho into a domestic drama straight out of Carver-esque America … An intellectual noir novel and an original voice.
Starred Review. With its noirish sensibility and eloquent prose, this dark novel depicts marriage as one “long double homicide".
Richard Russo Mr. Peanut is as ingenious as it is riveting.
The most riveting look at the dark side of marriage since Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?…It induced nightmares, at least in this reader. No mean feat.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Bonnie Brody Disappointing Read I read Mr. Peanut and was quite disappointed. The book was disjointed, it seemed to try and go too many places and the ultimate feeling I had was boredom. It is about a man whose wife dies from choking on a peanut. Did he kill her or was it an... Read More
Rated of 5
by R.M. Trilipush Excellent Debut Mr. Peanut is definitely worth a read. I enjoyed the Escher-esque plot, the allusions to Hitchcock and Nabokov, and the shout out to Silence of the Lambs. But most of all, I liked the writing. It's hard to find a book these days that is both... Read More
When asked in an interview if there was any particular event that inspired Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross responded that: "In 1995, my father told me the strangest, most suspicious story about my cousin, who had severe peanut allergies and was also morbidly obese. According to her husband, he arrived home to find her sitting at the kitchen table with a plate of peanuts in front of her, and upon seeing him she stuffed a handful into her mouth and then went into anaphylatic shock. Her last words to him were, 'Call 911.'" (read the interview)
It may seem strange that eating something as tiny as a peanut could cause a violent allergic reaction strong enough to kill a person, however, Ross does not exaggerate the severity of what is known as anaphylaxis. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. It can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something you're allergic to, such as the venom from a bee sting or a peanut. The flood of chemicals released by your immune system...
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...