Douglas Kennedy delivers a high-flying social thriller

8:25 a.m., April 29, 2022

At 56, Brendan spends most of his time behind the wheel, braving the “crazy maze” Los Angeles for his Uber customers. A thankless job that barely pays his bills but, nevertheless, he prefers to others. “low-paid nightmare jobs”, What’“Bury alive in an Amazon warehouse eight hours a day.” For a long time, Brendan believed in the American slogan that “we can all get up, dust ourselves off and start from scratch”, before seeing his illusions crushed by the system: “Another lie Americans tell each other… but perhaps a necessary lie. Otherwise, how do you find the energy to get up every morning? »

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This well-regulated daily life is shaken the day that, after leaving a client in front of an abortion center, Brendan witnesses an attack perpetrated against this center by a pro-life group, to which his wife belongs. , Agnieska, and Todor, his best friend. , priest and anti-abortion activist. With the support of an influential billionaire, the “Angels Help” help young pregnant women who do not want to be mothers to carry their pregnancies to term and adopt their children. But behind this charitable screen hides a much darker reality, which mixes human trafficking and sexual slavery. An expanding web whose ramifications soon reach Brendan’s family and even his daughter, Klara, employed at a battered women’s shelter. for this man who “He spent his life choosing the safest path”, it seems the time has come “Let yourself be dominated by fear.”

fractured society

With the doubts of a dissatisfied fifty-year-old, Douglas Kennedy combines the fractures of a society eaten away by individualism, thus weaving a high-flying social thriller. If the first chapters see evanescent characters parade to the frenetic pace of Uber races, they allow us to familiarize ourselves with the psychology of an antihero imprisoned by a job that exhausts him and a marriage damaged by tragedy. Only the interior of his car seems to protect him, while the city is riddled with danger.

Engaged in his flesh and not just between these lines, Men are afraid of light. deals with such sensitive issues as religious extremism, abortion, violence against women and sexual abuse, at the heart of a divided America. Without Manichaeism, but placing his reader as a witness in the passenger seat, Douglas Kennedy questions our choices, our convictions, and encourages us to ask ourselves if we are one of those who resist or the sheep of a flock, beyond words.

Men are afraid of light. Douglas Kennedy, translated from English (United States) by Chloé Royer, 264 pages, 22 euros (in bookstores on May 5).

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