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Ill Will
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2017 SUMMER Bookclub > Ill Will book discussion

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1626 comments space to talk about the book. there will be a Round 2 folder available to discuss the match-up for July


Amanda (tnbooklover) | 1 comments 150 pages to go and I'm not seeing how this is going to resolve itself. This is one of the best page turner books I have read this year. I really like the literary thriller/mystery genre.


message 3: by Ace (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ace (aceonroam) I'm loving this on audiobook.


Amanda (tnbooklover) | 1 comments I just finished this and holy crap! I can't wait to talk about this one. I absolutely loved it.


message 5: by Anna (new) - added it

Anna | 5 comments Yes, me, too !


Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 444 comments I finished Ill Will last night and all I can say is WTF? I'm going to have to think about that ending and I'm still not sure I'll be able to figure it out.

That was quite a ride, and I'm looking forward to discussing it in July.


Nancy | 2 comments I'm about 75 pages from the end and loving this book. I keep thinking that all of the spacing and the various ways Chaon separates chapters and sections and even columns is a way to emphasize one of his themes.


message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1626 comments I'm curious how y'all read the columned portions - do you read each side for a few pages and page around or read each side of the page and then move on? I find myself doing both and feeling awkward with each. And WHAT are those passages? Is it Dustin's journal?


message 9: by Jan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1040 comments Yikes! I downloaded the audio--wondering how that's gonna work! Has anyone listened to this one? Amazon names three narrators (including Edouardo Ballerini, who's great) and then says "full cast recordings." Sounds like a trip!


message 10: by Ruthiella (last edited Jun 26, 2017 11:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruthiella | 331 comments Amy wrote: "I'm curious how y'all read the columned portions - do you read each side for a few pages and page around or read each side of the page and then move on? I find myself doing both and feeling awkward..."

I read them left to right even though it was disorienting. I think what they are is to show how in one person's head a lot of different thoughts can be happening simultaneously.

BTW, I loved this book. I found it satisfyingly creepy and just on the right side of ambiguous most of the time.


message 11: by Jan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1040 comments Ace wrote: "I'm loving this on audiobook."

Ace, happy to hear this! I should have read up-thread before my posted my audiobook question below!


Rachel | 120 comments Just finished this last night on audio. I found the pace of the middle too be too slow and the end so fast, I'm a bit disoriented. And that's without dealing with the weird formatting issues apparently in actually reading.


Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 444 comments Rachel wrote: "Just finished this last night on audio. I found the pace of the middle too be too slow and the end so fast, I'm a bit disoriented. And that's without dealing with the weird formatting issues appare..."

The different ways that Chaon arranged the novel was amazing. If you get a chance, take a look at how the author laid out the columns (which are just a few pages overall) and also how he wrote Dustin's dialog.


message 14: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Lopez | 330 comments Just started this on audio, about two hours in and I'm pretty hooked. Not looking forward to the Night Ocean discussion but I can tell the Ill Will talk's gonna be great.


message 15: by Jan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1040 comments I am sad to say Ill Will just did not work for me, especially since I see so many 4- and 5-star reviews among my GR friends. Without introducing spoilers this early in the process, there were some things in the setup of Dustin's character that just kept me from entering the world of this novel. On the bright side: lots of material for discussing how an author handles unreliable narrators!


message 16: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1626 comments One of the better unreliable narrators I've seen so far but I hit the memory card video (about halfway) right before bed and realized I'm reading a different book than I thought I was! Creepy!


Ruthiella | 331 comments Amy wrote: "One of the better unreliable narrators I've seen so far but I hit the memory card video (about halfway) right before bed and realized I'm reading a different book than I thought I was! Creepy!"

OMG, this book totally creeped me out (in a good way). There is a lot of misdirection in it, which I really enjoyed.


message 18: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1626 comments Yeah, I find it kind of amazing that while Kate's recollections of Dustin before and after the murders made him much more sympathetic (aw, poor kid, I want to protect him), they also made me much more suspicious and creeped out by him (oh no, something is really wrong with him!) I generally believed Dustin for the first half of the book even knowing he was a little out of it and his memory was hokey, but I didn't like or care about him that much. After the mid-point I suddenly had a lot of feelings (good and bad) about young and old Dustin.


message 19: by Jan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1040 comments Amy wrote: "Yeah, I find it kind of amazing that while Kate's recollections of Dustin before and after the murders made him much more sympathetic (aw, poor kid, I want to protect him), they also made me much m..."

How is the book working out for you, Amy? I saw and liked the highlights you posted. I've probably spent too much time in therapy and read too many police procedurals, but I totally did not buy Dustin as any sort of therapist, even a marginal one doing hypnosis for smoking cessation and other forms of symptom relief. My suspicions arose so early in the book and I wasn't picking up hints from Chaon that could let me know if he was a sophisticated author creating a cheap stereotype of a damaged shrink, or if he was buying the stereotypes himself, and it really kept me from bonding with the book. But I can see a lot of people love it!!


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 543 comments Jan wrote: "Amy wrote: "Yeah, I find it kind of amazing that while Kate's recollections of Dustin before and after the murders made him much more sympathetic (aw, poor kid, I want to protect him), they also ma..."

I didn't buy Dustin as a therapist except that it always seems like the most messed up people go into therapy, or at least have an interest in it .. so it wasn't his pursuit of it but how he didn't seem to have a therapist side. (view spoiler)

Overall I enjoyed reading this, it kept me interested and moved quickly, I liked being not quite sure but I'm not sure I got the payoff I was hoping for.


message 21: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth Dean (readremark) | 29 comments Just finished the audiobook and I'm a little confused? I listened to the ending twice. I need a spoilery discussion.

But I did like it. Dustin is so obtuse it's surprising he was a therapist...or survived everyday life. I have a beachfront mansion in Idaho I bet he'd be happy to buy.


Ruthiella | 331 comments I didn't think of Dustin as dense so much as malleable. I think there is an indication in the beginning that he takes some kind of medication which he stops taking as the book goes on. And I think he relied heavily on his wife to guide him in his life, both personal and professional and once he lacked that support, he became completely untethered.


message 23: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1626 comments Ruthiella wrote: "I didn't think of Dustin as dense so much as malleable. I think there is an indication in the beginning that he takes some kind of medication which he stops taking as the book goes on. And I think ..."

I would agree. It sounds as if his wife may have 'saved' him and then didn't have the energy to keep up that part of the relationship once she was so ill. She seemed to find the disturbing qualities of Dustin (his impressionability, his trances) to be sweet and childlike which is not really great relationship foundation. Dustin seemed somewhat plausible to me as a therapist only because I have seen many a persons go into psychology or practice themselves who have a lot more work to do themselves or are impressively self deluding.


message 24: by Sondra (new)

Sondra | 2 comments So what does everyone think happened in the end? Who was responsible for the 1983 murders? Why did Aqil even care about this, what's his connection to Dennis (besides being a murderer?) The only things we know for certain at the end is Dustin, Aaron, and Rusty are dead.


Ruthiella | 331 comments Sondra wrote: "So what does everyone think happened in the end? Who was responsible for the 1983 murders? Why did Aqil even care about this, what's his connection to Dennis (besides being a murderer?) The only th..."

My take:

It was a murder suicide fueled by alcohol and adultery . However when Dustin sleepwalked through it, he messed up the evidence. So Rusty goes to prison and Dustin and his cousins are saddled with that guilt for the rest of their lives but never really confront it.

Aqil was just an unbalanced person, drawn to weak, easily lead people like Dustin (and Aaron). There was no serial killer in Ohio drowning young men, but Aqil was so obsessed by the possibility that I think he did kill Rabbit and Aaron just to see if he could.


message 26: by Sondra (new)

Sondra | 2 comments I agree with the first part but I thought aqil was the serial killer. He was just Dustin's patient by coincidence?


Ruthiella | 331 comments Sondra wrote: "I agree with the first part but I thought aqil was the serial killer. He was just Dustin's patient by coincidence?"

I believe so. I also think, had Dustin's wife not been ill, he would have consulted with her about his initial uneasiness in treating Aqil and she would have nipped it in the bud. Aqil was a conspiracy theorist who took it a step too far...which may also account for why he was unemployed.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 543 comments Yeah so much of Dustin's unraveling is the absence of his wife.


Rachel Rooney (rerooney) | 28 comments So thankful for this thread! I quit reading when Aaron was at the house with Aqil at 94% done on the Kindle. I am not a horror person, and it was just too dark for me!! I thought it was very well-done; it was just not the right book for me.

I also believed Aqil was a serial killer and thought he had sought out Dustin because of his connection to the 1983 killings.


message 30: by Jan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1040 comments Rachel wrote: "I also believed Aqil was a serial killer and thought he had sought out Dustin because of his connection to the 1983 killings...."

I believe Aqil was the killer. :-)


message 31: by Ace (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ace (aceonroam) Rachel wrote: "So thankful for this thread! I quit reading when Aaron was at the house with Aqil at 94% done on the Kindle. I am not a horror person, and it was just too dark for me!! ..."

I'm not a horror person either, I nearly poo'd my pants at the end. I should have stopped too.


Phoebe | 1 comments Was Aqil Gergely? When did he become the copycat killer, or did he only kill Aaron and Rabbit? I'd like to talk more about his motive and end game.


message 33: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1626 comments I believe Aqil was Gergely. I think he liked the urban myth of 'Jack Daniels' and decided to adopt it for himself. The fact he already had the isolation tank and got away so easily with Rabbit and Aaron tells me it wasn't his first time... though they were certainly more vulnerable targets than popular frat boys.


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