Hampton Road is a psychological thriller told from the perspective of threecharacters. Their overlapping narratives unravel a mystery that begins one fatefulsummer night and ends months later in a mental institution when a young man isforced to confront the source of his personal anguish.
The novel is also asocial commentary, in the manner of Catcherin the Rye, although the driving force of the novel is the mysterysurrounding the protagonist's incarceration and his psychopathology.
Thenovel opens with the teenage protagonist suddenly awakening to find himself ina state mental institution, one that looks more like a prison than a hospital.When he demands to know why he is being held against his will, none of thehospital personnel give him a straight answer. To make matters worse, herealizes he has a serious case of amnesia, especially when he is asked torecount any details about a tragic incident that occurred on Hampton Road. Infact, whenever the topic of Hampton Road comes up, he panics and experiences ablinding flash, in the form of a mental explosion of light, that blocks anyfurther thoughts on the subject.
When he attempts to recalldetails about his own life and his relationship with his former friends, theinformation he gleans is incomplete. Nothing seems right. When his mother visits him he doesn't recognizeher, and his girlfriend, unsettled by his strange demeanor, addresses him asthough he is someone else. Just as puzzling, his closest friend never oncecalls on him and seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth. It isonly his sharp wit and flashes of dark humor that save him from despair.
As time passes, his present life seems less and less real. Its center can nolonger hold. Everything thing around him strikes him as surreal. The doctor,the hospital, the visits from his mother and girlfriend, even what he remembersof his own past. It all seems to belong to someone else. His uncertainty causeshim to feel like an imposter, a phony, and a helpless prisoner. He distruststhe doctor and believes, more than wanting to help him, he wants something fromhim. Something he doesn't feel capable of giving. And that something has to dowith Hampton Road.
It is through numerous sessions with the psychologist thathe is eventually able to dredge up enough of his past to shine a bright lighton that fateful summer night when the world as he knew it ended. At the end ofthe novel, he and the reader solve the mystery of his identity and understandwhat factors in his life transfigured him into a tortured soul, an embodimentof his own remorse and desperation.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - jenn88 - LibraryThing
We start off with Billy. He has no idea where he's really at or why he's being held there against his will. He's being asked by a doctor to recount details about what happened that night on Hampton ... Read full review