Edgar and Lucy

Victor Lodato. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (544p) ISBN 978-1-250-09698-2
The sprawling second novel by the author of Mathilda Savitch zooms in on its two title characters to the near-exclusion of everything else. Edgar is eight when the novel opens. Albino and borderline autistic, he’s having a hard time making it in urban New Jersey, and he finds himself tempted to take the protection offered by a mysterious bearded middle-aged man who is often found patrolling his neighborhood in a pickup truck. Edgar’s widowed mother, Lucy, does her best to care for him, but she’s still haunted by her dead husband and chafing under the household rule of her stern Italian mother-in-law, with whom she and Edgar live. The novel has the plot of a much briefer book, and, while some readers may revel in its rich description, others will find it self-indulgent. Secondary characters come across as more quirky than credible, and the introduction of the point of view of a ghostly character disrupts the flow of the narrative. Scenes set in the deserted woods of the New Jersey Pine Barrens have an eerie power, as do flashbacks to the early years of Lucy’s marriage. While the plot is suspenseful enough to keep the pages turning, Lovado blunts the edges of difficult subjects such as suicide and child endangerment, making for an emotionally easier story. 125,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Bill Clegg, the Clegg Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2017
Release date: 03/07/2017
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