Live; Live; Live

Jonathan Buckley. New York Review Books, $15.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-68137-547-2
A young man recounts his years-long friendship with a medium in this cerebral slow burn from Buckley (The Great Concert of the Night). Narrator Joshua tells the reader he’s ambivalent about his next-door neighbor Lucas Judd’s occult powers, but the man himself is a source of fascination. Joshua tells of meeting Lucas at 12, then of Lucas’s clients, including a group of feuding heirs who wonder if Lucas is truthfully representing the wishes of the deceased. When beautiful, enigmatic Erin, the daughter of a client, moves in with Lucas, Joshua, now in his 20s immediately falls in love, but Erin dismisses him. Joshua, Erin, and Lucas glide through the years, as Joshua and Erin listen to Lucas’s stories and commentary on declining modern life, and Erin gives birth to a daughter, Kit. After the identity of Kit’s father is revealed and Lucas dies, the ensuing realignment of relationships strains Joshua’s arrested development, an arc interwoven with asides about historical mediums. Some of the developments come out of nowhere, such as the death of Joshua’s mother, which Joshua announces without much reflection or emotion, but Buckley stokes a quiet intensity around the characters’ subtle, understated communication. While intriguing, this experiment feels a bit flat. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/04/2020
Release date: 02/02/2021
Genre: Fiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-68137-548-9
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