by David Moody

There are the books you want to read, and those that you don’t. Then there are those rare books that you don’t ‘want’ to read but as soon as you scan your eye across the opening page they haul you in, force you through every agonising encounter and then spit you out like piece of used gum. David Moody’s Hater is just such a book.

      Initially the story focuses on Daniel McCoyne and his pervasive hatred for his life. Poverty exasperates the perpetual grind of a soulless job, an antagonistic boss and a demanding family capped by a belligerent father-in-law. It’s a bleak world view – even before everything starts to fall apart – but one that cleverly transcends wallowing in self pity thanks to Moody’s intuitive characterisation. Danny’s role of down-trodden hero trying to do the right thing is perfectly portrayed and you can’t help but care for him and his vulnerable family.

      It’s also a surprising book that revels in skewing preconceptions and forcing the reader to question the solidity of their own moral standpoint. Initially Danny sandbags his hatred against his miserable life. Then, as the book progresses and the term ‘hater’ is coined by the gutter press for those infected, the reader finds themselves on increasingly unstable ground. Who are the haters? Who are the hated? It’s a beautiful mechanic that unravels all ‘common sense’ opinions with a delightful economy and precision.

      Make no mistake about it, this is humanity seen through the dark scanner, and while we may be unsettled by what we see, it’s the job of books such as this to make us confront the allure and repulsion of the taboo.

      Love it? Hate it? It really doesn’t matter. Not to read it and have some form of opinion… Well, that would be hateful.