All He Ever Wanted: A Novel by Anita Shreve is a dark tale of the depths to which a person will go when love is not returned. Set in a conservative college in the early 1900’s, the story conveys the pompous academic flavor of the era, but the pain family members inflict on each other is timeless. Excellent prose and plot. Good depiction of the way an obsession can engulf and alter a person until he loses the very thing he seeks to possess.
This novel is character-driven. From the first pages, we see that the protagonist, who narrates the story, is heading inexorably toward his own destruction. As a psychologist, I wanted fervently to step in and warn him that he was making things worse, he was making things worse! But, of course, he wouldn’t have listened.