The Antagonist is a brand new book by Lynn Coady, and it really feels new. I feel this absurd boundary between the printed word and the electronic word (even though I tend to read most printed words on electronic devices nowadays), and it nonsensically throws me for a loop when social media plays a big role in a book.
The Antagonist follows big, burly but well-intentioned Rank, who has, to his surprise, discovered that Adam– a former friend from college–wrote a book about him. A not very flattering book. Rank takes a stand and, through a series of unresponded e-mails, sets the story straight.
Much of the plot is driven by the question of what exactly did Adam say? You know it has angered Rank and it’s something bad, but it’s not entirely apparent at the outset. A big chunk of the book also deals with the wonder of rediscovering old friends through social media. For those in their early 20s who don’t remember life without Facebook, this wonder is lost. But for those a generation or two older, the excitement of reconnection is highly relatable. If this book were written by an unskilled writer, it would be all wrapped up in three pages, but Coady does a good job of structuring the story so that the reader is neither lost nor bored.
The Antagonist certainly isn’t a thriller, but it does keep you wondering. It’s not heavy reading, and would make an excellent poolside novel for those of us who aren’t too interested in trashy romances.