Tony and Susan, By Austin Wright

Lost classic with a thriller inside
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The Independent Culture

The US novelist Austin Wright's Tony and Susan met with apathy when it was first published in 1993, but it was reissued last year and hailed as a lost classic, with Ian McEwan and Ruth Rendell among those to lavish praise.

At its centre is Susan Morrow, a middle-aged housewife who is surprised when her ex-husband sends her the manuscript of his new book, a disturbing tale of murder and revenge. Wright alternates between this story and Susan's responses to it, delivering a suspense thriller punctuated with pin-sharp observations on the act of reading. This gripping novel fully deserves its second chance, and it is a pity that Wright, who died in 2003, is not around to enjoy the belated acclaim.