A Good Man

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

I read this in one sitting without really meaning too. The writing style is lovely, the story is captivating and I could really picture every scene just from the writing and descriptions. A man makes a terrible decision that we spend the whole book waiting to uncover. I hadn't guessed the ending.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley for my copy of A good Man.
This is a very dark and chilling story that becomes increasingly sinister as the plot unfurls. The characters are well delineated and believable, if mostly a little odd to say the least. Even so, it was only the daughter I felt any significant sympathy for at the end.

Although the book had a modern setting it seemed more 1950's to me, but I can't really explain why. I, personally, could have done without all the operatic references as they meant nothing to me and so I just skipped over them.

Overall it was an engaging read.
Was this review helpful?
I like a book to either grab me from the start - simmer along nicely -or have the tension  build up as you go .
I'm afraid this book did none of those things . It's not often I post a bad review but I just could not get into this at all . 
I didn't like the characters and after reading over half - I still wasn't sure what it was trying to say.

Sorry -just not for me 

Thank you NetGalley for an ARC in return for an honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
This book was incredibly well-written and the development of the main character throughout was very believable.  The family dynamic was difficult but the authors description of the idiosycrancies of the characters led me to feel symplathetic towards them.  The ending was not expected - a great twist.  Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
I did finish this book but i struggled  Repetitive with continuous references to opera and mundane descriptives of his life  Sorry, not for me but thank you for the opportunity to read it
Was this review helpful?
'A Good Man' is a novel that is shocking, gripping and deeply effective but also, I fear, hard to review without spoiling.  It's one of those books that you know is going to end badly from page one. A mysterious impending doom hangs over everything that happens, leaving you constantly looking for clues as to what is going to go wrong. It’s horrible, but impossible to look away from.
It tells the story of a successful advertising executive with a happy family life but an unhappy past. He lives with his French wife and their eleven-year-old daughter, their existence described in scenes so convincingly normal that they really add to the overall horror of the book. His mother and sisters play a large part too, living in a large house in the middle of nowhere. They're distressingly eccentric, and the chapters they feature in play out like something from Shirley Jackson's 'We Have Always Lived in the Castle'. Despite their oddities they too are convincing, their neuroses painful to witness.
As well as Jackson, the book owes a debt to Gillian Flynn. The central character is deliciously unreliable as a narrator, frequently challenged by others over his recollection of events so that you never really know if what you are reading is real or imagined. This adds to the disturbing quality of the book. It’s disorienting and strangely eerie, like being trapped in someone else’s nightmare. 
At just over 200 pages ‘A Good Man’ is refreshingly short and demands to be read as quickly as possible., Despite the fact that many of the scenes are of everyday life, I found that I couldn't put it down. Ani Katz is an excellent writer, and my mention of Flynn and Jackson is meant to highlight her talent rather than to suggest the book is derivative. It stands on its own two feet: bleak, upsetting, chilling and memorable. Highly recommended, but don’t blame me if it leaves you shaken.
Was this review helpful?
Thomas meets Miriam and they are blissfully in love. Eventually, Thomas takes Miriam to meet his family but only after Thomas has insisted his mother and 20 year old twin sisters avoid mentioning their past. 
Thomas thinks of himself as a good man, a loving and responsible father, son and husband who works for an advertising agency climbing the ladder and providing for his family. And it's easy to go along with his view of himself and gloss over the subtle instances that demonstrate the unreliability of his perspective. His mother and sisters are weird, living in this strange bubble where his sisters were home schooled in a haphazard way  leaving them without skills or a sense of independence and keeping them in a childlike state despite being young adults. Originally Thomas had a sister Evie, close in age to him, who died shortly after she left home. And initially the reader may think this is the cause of Thomas's strange family. But as the novel progresses, further expositions show that Thomas's view of the world is not quite right. Then Thomas's life really starts to unravel in a very dramatic way. He struggles to keep his image as a good man and provider eventually culminating in shocking climax.
This was a great read especially in the way Katz used subtlety to lure the reader into a false sense of security regarding Thomas's character. A true psychological thriller that successfully fulfils the brief.
Was this review helpful?
Thomas Martin is a good man - or at least he thinks he is. He adores his wife and daughter (his girls) and provides for his mother and weird twin sisters who have never really grown up.  As Thomas begins to tell us his tale though we become aware that something has gone badly wrong in his idyllic world. 

I was enchanted by the style of writing. I love opera and so all the references to this were more than welcome and given what happens, very appropriate as this is a tragedy on an operatic scale.  The prose is beautiful, almost poetic at times and the narration really draws you into Thomas' world. From the outset we are made uneasy by Thomas' narration. How far can we trust him? To say more would be to risk spoilers. I was very taken by this book and recommend it wholeheartedly. Don't be taken in by the psychological thriller label though. This is so much more. Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I don't think it's giving too much away to say that Thomas is not a good man! This is gradually shown in subtle ways., along with the consequences of his actions. The irony is that Thomas thinks he is good, and that what he does is for the benefit of others. But clearly this is not the case.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC
Was this review helpful?
A brilliant literary tale. This was so beautifully written and realistic. Was a heartbreaking read at itkmss
Was this review helpful?
I'll be honest - the very beginning of the book didn't really grab me (it's a description of an opera) and I nearly abandoned the novel. But wow am I glad I didn't. The narrative changes quickly to a very engaging retelling of what appears to be a boy meets girl story. I never knew quite where the story was heading or what the climax would be - and therein lies the beauty of it. It's disturbing in places, evokes all the senses with the descriptions, and definitely unpredictable. Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
Oh my - you are going to hate this main character - that's how good this author has written him. Thomas calls his wife and daughter 'my girls, and well, there's little more I can actually say without spoilers as you really have to slide down the slippery slope with them too see for yourself. People often wonder how any woman can be controlled by a man without knowing it (equally there are women who control men of course) - well this book will show you in shocking detail. This book is raw. Visceral and uncomfortable at times. Powerful though. 
Tough subjects and themes.
Was this review helpful?
The gentle start to this novel as Thomas tentatively introduces his new love to his somewhat dysfunctional family belies the pace and suspension to come. As Thomas seeks to juggle responsibilities to support his mother and family with the demands of high flying career it becomes clear that his life is not quite as golden as he thinks. This is a brilliant psychological thriller drawing the reader ever deeper into the characters' lives until it reaches a shocking climax.
Was this review helpful?
It's difficult to review this without giving any spoilers - any information would absolutely detract from this wonderfully tense and gripping novel that takes you down a path and thought process you'd never imagine possible. 
The writing is skillfully taut, and I felt my actual stomach clench as the events in the book began to spiral out of control and to what seems like an impossible ending. 
A wise selection for anyone that still believes in the American Dream, or wonders exactly what stress and pressure does to people - we all have fault lines, and Ani Katz presses insistently and unforgivingly upon our poor protagonists. 
Highly recommended for those that enjoy thrillers, but also, perhaps conversely, recommended for people like me who always, always empathise with female characters.
Was this review helpful?
Sorry but I could not get into this book at all. I could not connect with any of the characters and I disliked the references to opera. I kept reading in the hope that I would become interested in what was happening but unfortunately that was not the case. 

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
Was this review helpful?
Warning: If you plan to read/watch Twilight steer clear. Full explanation below, but it's worth noting that the author has been uncouth enough to write in full spoilers for another author's series here.

Otherwise. Eh, good but not superb. A Good Man is a tale told from an undeniably unreliable narrator; Thomas thinks he is a good man and told from his perspective, there is much to back this up. Except there are some inconsistencies which even he can't cover up from his own mind. Looking back on this, it's actually quite cleverly revealed in snippets and snatches that you don't necessarily think all too much of at the time but when you come to review it as a whole, they all add up to something a little more sinister, a whole lot darker.

Katz does quite well with slowly building up a sense of tension and underlying sense of foreboding. Everything seems relatively normal if you take out some of the distinctly dysfunctional family relationships, but there is a gnawing edge that hints at something unseen lurking behind the surface. Some of Thomas' behaviour sets off alarm bells very early on, even with the distorted narrative view on things and you can't help but feel uncomfortable. However, it is difficult to tell exactly how honest Thomas is being, even to himself. When I started reading I took it all at face value, but  it doesn't take too long to realise that you won't get the whole story that way.

My main complaint with the novel I suppose it that for the vast majority of the narrative it is all too ordinary. It seems as though you are trundling along an ordinary life and the hints that something isn't quite right could be easily missed. Whilst some of the characters are portrayed well, much of the background and details of the relationships is left up to your own imagination which results in a lot of loose ends hanging. Because of the slow, meandering pace the ending therefore seems unbelievably sudden and whilst you can see some of the build up leading to it, there is still a direct sense of unfinished business. I think with a little more depth to the foreshadowing, this would have managed to maintain a really ominous tone that would have served it well. As it stands, I was happy enough reading it, but never felt truly hooked.

I would also add that the spoilers given for an entirely different series very early in this novel are just poor play on the authors and publishers part. It is almost worth taking an additional star off. It is enough to say that if you haven't read or seen the Twilight franchise and have any plans to, stay well clear of this. Contemporary references in a novel are fine; disclosing a huge plot point of another authors novel is really bad taste, even when I have no interest in reading the series in question. Other readers might and you would think an author might have enough sensibilities to refrain from such cheap ploys. And I changed my mind.The more I think on this, the more undeserving it seems and a star has been duly knocked off.
Was this review helpful?
Perhaps if you’ve never read ‘Gone Girl’, nor any other of the many unreliably narrated psychological novels that have flooded the market over the past few years, you might remain gripped by ‘A Good Man’.  It is well written and the detail that makes a story come to life – descriptions of place, individual mannerisms, back stories etc. - are all there.  However, it’s pretty clear from the outset that, Thomas, the devoted husband/father/brother/son has a way of presenting the truth that’s anything but truthful. We are even told in the first chapter, ‘That’s what I did for a living.  I spun stories, made things like death seem clean and manageable – attractive even.’  Surely the whole point of using an unreliable narrator is to keep the reader wondering just how much they can believe of any interpretation of events, and why he or she sees the world in that way.
It’s pretty clear on both accounts that Thomas, the great protector of his ‘girls’ – another clue about his controlling nature – is not to be trusted and is also badly damaged.  I enjoyed the portrayal of his dilapidated childhood home, lived in now by his eccentric twin sisters and fragile mother, and more could have been made of their interactions.  We are given very little about his relationship with his wife, Miriam, other than that he coercively controls her from the outset; his penchant for violent sex, for example, and the fact that he uses her trust fund to buy a home that she’s not keen on flag this early on.  In general, what could have been really interesting is underdeveloped.
Thus, the end of the novel, presumably meant to mimic one of the extravagant conclusions so typical of his beloved Germanic operas, is not only inevitable but also lacking in emotional punch. 
My thanks to NetGalley and William Heinemann for a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair review.
Was this review helpful?
This book was so intriging in the beginning, had such promise of weirdness and unreliability but in the end, I think it didn't delivery. I feel that for me it tried to be a little too clever, a little too lacking the small clever detail that would make it truly shocking or engaging. The descent into madness was too broadly written and delivered, I think.
Was this review helpful?
The setting makes this book stand out and as you are reading you get genuinely disturbed by the way the book is written: it keeps you in a state of unease, in a good way!

Read it super quickly as it is very enjoyable.
Was this review helpful?
Sadly I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and found the constant references to opera irritating and pretentious.  The basic storyline is good but unfortunately the execution was poor.
Was this review helpful?