John Wray’s novel, Lowboy, is an unusual story in that it reads like a mystery, a
psychological thriller and at times like science fiction. The story is about sixteen-year-old
Will Heller (known throughout most of the novel as Lowboy) who has walked away from his mental
hospital where he was being treated for schizophrenia and has taken refuge in the subway tunnels.
Will is convinced the earth will end due to global warming and the answer to this tragedy lies
within his body.
Will’s mother, Violet, says she feeds her son’s condition but is not the cause of it. The
reader will have to decide. The other characters are not the stable characters that Lowboy needs
to recover. Detective Lateef (not his real name) has some personality quirks himself, and when
he teams with Violet to find Lowboy, the dramatic elements of the story increase. Lowboy’s
girlfriend Emily also exhibits some strange behavior.
The author switches the reader from scenes between Violet and Lateef to those of Will and his
encounters with people on the subway; the author has turned these into somewhat bizarre episodes.
Will Lowboy find that which is inside of him in time to save the world, and what exactly is
this thing that can save the world? The author neatly ties up these questions in the denouement
of the novel.
This suspenseful novel gives the reader a look inside the workings of the mind of one
schizophrenic and how he deals with the everyday world.