The Houseguest (Paperback)
|Author: Thomas Berger|
|Chuck Burgoyne seems, at first, to be the ideal houseguest, according to his unsuspecting hostess. He's a gourmet cook, he's congenial company, and he even saves a family member form drowning. Who invited Charles Burgoyne? As the family unites in a variety of unsuccessful attempts to triumph over Chuck, Berger evokes with flair, wit, and not a little craziness a series of events leading to the most sensible, if unexpected, outcome. "The Houseguest is the quintessential weekend-houseguest horror story.|
From the Publisher:
Chuck Burgoyne appears to be the perfect houseguest, but the Graves family is soon threatened by their mysterious visitor, who discovers their darkest secrets and about whom no one knows anything.Chuck Burgoyne is no ordinary houseguest. The Graveses (father Doug; wife Audrey; son Bobby; and daughter-in-law Lydia) have gotten used to his polite manners and gourmet breakfasts. But one morning at the Graveses' summer home, Chuck fails to appear.
When Chuck finally does surface, he is no longer sweet and charming, but rather has become aggressive and arrogant, abusing each family member in turn. Each family member that is, except the fellow outsider, Lydia. Once Chuck rescues her from the dangerous undertow of the ocean, Lydia can't help but feel obligated to him, even after his uninvited advances to her while she's half asleep. Slowly it becomes apparent to the family that Chuck isn't anyone's guest but rather a perfect stranger who wormed his way into their home. Yet the Graveses are so concerned with not offending him by being impolite that they willingly accept the abuse he freely dishes out. In private, however, they all scheme for his undoing. But will anyone muster up the courage?
An eerie and clever novel, The Houseguest introduces one of Berger's most dangerous and compelling villains.
In his novels, Thomas Berger often analyzes the ambiguous relationship between victims and victimizers. In THE HOUSEGUEST, Chuck Burgoyne comes to stay with the Graveses, and he's the ideal guest: in addition to his other good qualities, he is a great cook. But things subtly change, until the Graves family is at Burgoyne's mercy. This satire of suburban life and vulnerability is a typical Berger novel: mordantly funny, full of piercing insights, and dizzyingly inventive.