The Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak may be the book that has most surprised me so far this summer. I went into it with absolutely no expectations and I came away deeply satisfied. You can’t say that about every novel.
Waclawiak looks at the fractures in a picture perfect Connecticut neighborhood by focusing on the community’s greatest fears: change and outsiders threatening what they have. Part of this threat comes from the fear of violence – real and imagined, and this violence runs a subtle thread through the whole narrative.
The thing I most appreciated in Waclawiak’s writing was her subtlety. So much is conveyed in what is left unsaid and in sly glances. The male gaze is everywhere and is both threatening, but also yearned for. The story reflects so many of the battles faced in American culture today: us vs. them (whoever they are), expressions of sexuality and need, economic disparities. They way in which all these themes are brought together is what makes The Invaders so compelling.
Who would like this book? If you like a good story that makes you examine the world in which we live, this is a good book for you. It portrays the country club lifestyle that was touted as the ideal for so long and turns it on its head. That white, middle class neighborhood is far more toxic than ever imagined.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration.