Chris Power’s elegant first novel is a slyly ensnaring literary thriller written in immaculate prose ... an almost self-effacing commitment to unadorned clarity ... Power’s restraint pays off, making for a subtly immersive read, his sentences rippling like clear water even as the story’s murkier undertow pulls you out to sea. He doesn’t skimp on themes either, raising interesting questions about whether stories draw their power from reality or imagination, who (if anyone) owns them, and what privileges narrative control confers on the teller. Contemporary socio-political issues aside, A Lonely Man is a gripping and deftly controlled novel that proves Power is as good at writing books as he is at writing about them.
... an existential literary thriller in which writing itself is the lethal weapon. With the precision of Patricia Highsmith, Chris Power takes us into the world of John le Carré as seen through the autofiction of Rachel Cusk ... every sentence is packed with, well, power. Postmodern metafiction with an old-school plot, this is the slickest, smartest and most enjoyable novel I’ve read in years.
... an elegant, atmospheric story of shadows and half-truths ... At times his descriptions of dinner parties and school runs recall the domestic autofiction of Karl Ove Knausgaard. But Power is a very different kind of writer—and A Lonely Man soon reveals itself as a taut, subtle, postmodern literary thriller written with an exacting command over its form ... A Lonely Man delicately captures the melancholy of wintry Berlin, a familiar location from any number of Cold War spy novels and here serving as a stage set for Putin agents who may or may not be tailing Patrick. But just as it’s threatening to become a tale of jet-setting Russian oligarchs and their British fixers, it turns into a more enigmatic exploration of male loneliness and the ethics of cannibalising other people’s stories ... You can detect the influence of Chekhov in Power’s economy of detail and control over mood. However, this tale of solitary male writers and their intrigues owes more to the late Chilean author Roberto Bolaño, whose influence saturates the novel ... The final 50 pages are so tense, I found myself both too stressed to go on and too stressed to stop, a total captive to the story.