Lowboy, by John Wray – book cover imageAn uncomfortable, riveting, beautifully written novel about a schizophrenic teenager named Will, his mother, and the detective looking for Will after he went off his meds and on the lam in the New York City subway system in search of the girl he believes will help him save the world from global warming.

I consider myself to be a mildly enlightened person when it comes to mental illness, but I can’t say whether the portrayal of schizophrenia in this book is realistic or fair. What I can say, though, is that it seems realistic and not at all unfair. And it’s disturbing. And beautiful. And confounding.

As we get to know Will, his mother and the detective better, it’s as if we’re on a journey of consciousness and sanity, dipping and weaving in and out of both and around and around until we get to the end.

This is the best book I’ve read in quite a while, even though I found the end twist predictable early on. The writing is perfect. The story is subtle and rich and vivid and vague.

If you’re interested in mental illness, in character studies, in New York City or subways or teenagers or adults, I highly recommend Lowboy.