The Grievers

Marc Schuster. Permanent, $26 (176p) ISBN 978-1-57962-263-3
Years later, the class of '91 of Saint Leonard's Academy is reunited by the suicide of fellow alum Billy Chinn in Schuster's second novel (after the 2011's The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl). Charley Schwartz, one Billy's friends from school, isn't doing much better than his late buddy—he's working as a giant dollar sign mascot for a bank and wallowing in a "steep and irredeemable slump" of his own until Billy's death provides a wake-up call. Eyes wide open, Charley sets out to bulwark his life against the flood of disappointments and dead-ends while trying to raise money and write a fitting eulogy for Billy's memorial service. While the story line has little to offer (Billy's suicide feels like an unearned plot device whose sole purposes are to set Charley in motion and lend some gravitas to the book) the dialogue throughout is pitch-perfect, there's a laugh on nearly every page, and Schuster's crystal-clear prose shimmers. (May)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
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