A Good Man by Ani Katz
Ani Katz's edgy debut unravels the image of an everyday 'good' man
Ani Katz’s debut novel is about a man called Thomas Martin. As the scene is set by Thomas – who tells his story in the first person – it becomes quickly clear that the 'good man' being referred to in the title is Thomas. He is passionately in love with his French wife Miriam, has a top job at an advertising agency in Manhattan and is devoted to his daughter Ava. He provides for his eccentric mum and twin adult sisters who still live in the family home, a 'crumbling Victorian dollhouse'.
Parts of the book are truly gripping, although there are dry spells that leave you wondering where the story is going. But as the protagonist’s ugly upbringing is slowly unravelled, he becomes a little more interesting as a character, appearing not so ordinary and more like the rest of us, despite still appearing relatively unaffected by his experiences. We discover why Thomas had such a strong desire to become a husband and a father so quickly, desperately wanting to make a better life than the one he was born into.
After years of routine, he messes up at work and is unable to deal with the guilt of letting down his family. It turns out power and success can come at a price. Ani Katz has created an edgy debut with a disturbingly unforgettable ending.
William Heinemann, 16 Jan, £12.99