THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW
Quick does mental illness well, and the menagerie of odd ducks who populate his latest novel are just as often heartbreaking as they are hilarious. The framing of the novel in fan letters to actor Richard Gere allows for the character’s deep introspection without reducing his strangeness and provides many of the novel’s funny moments. Keeping it from being perfect, however, is the lack of a more grounded character in this bunch to anchor the raft of quirkiness.
Bartholomew Neil’s mother has just died. While that would be traumatic for anyone, Bartholomew had nothing else in his life other than caring for his mother: no friends, no job and no girlfriend. The parish priest sets him up with a therapist-in-training before the priest defrocks himself in an apparent meltdown, and soon Bartholomew finds himself surrounded by more strange people as he searches for the meaning of life through letters written to the object of his mother’s fascination, Richard Gere. (HARPER, Feb., 304 pp., $15.00)