“This night I was trying to describe what my orgasms were like, but I doubted if what I wanted to say would sound compelling to anyone but me...” explains Suzanne, before writing a letter to a convicted rapist who is serving his sentence in prison and whom she has established a relationship with.
Maureen Gibbon’s Thief is the story of Suzanne, a complex woman trying to make sense of her own rape, while exploring her own sexuality. Gibbon creates a multi-layered character, an average woman with a troubled past who lives a secluded life and for the most part, likes to have superficial relationships, without letting anyone into her life.
What’s most riveting about this short novel is the style in which Gibbon lets the reader into the very private life of Suzanne. Thief is a short novel, and the reader might be compelled to read it in one sitting. Each chapter is an intimate view of Suzanne’s thoughts, the kind of thoughts that are rarely discussed, especially because they seem fleeting and extremely personal. The protagonist describes her innermost sexual thoughts and experiences, from masturbation to her fantasies and even to her attack. It is at this point that there is a sense of voyeurism, a bond with what goes through Suzanne’s head. Gibbon allows the reader into the deepest secrets of Suzanne and there’s an understanding of her feelings of shame and guilt, an understanding that Suzanne herself is lacking.
Thief is written in a raw style and yet it doesn’t appear vulgar or cliché; instead, it’s a direct look into a woman’s thoughts and the path she explores to understand own self. The novel is well written and engaging; the story of a woman who, through sexual acceptance, reaches another level of self-discovery.