This mind bending story about magic, family and the mafia takes some time to get used but features a number of quirky characters that are fascinating to get to know.
Meet the Telemachus family – on the surface a dysfunctional family still lost in grief with the loss of Maureen Telemachus 31 years ago and each individual member with their own set of problems. But underneath, this is a family with a secret – each have a secret psychic power that brings its own set of problems that sees them being caught up with the CIA and the Mafia.
This latest novel from Daryl Gregory is one that struggles to find its identity – particularly in the opening chapters – is it a science fiction novel? is it a family saga? or could it even be a slow burning thriller? While towards the middle section of the book elements begin to piece themselves together and written with slightly more confidence, there is something still that remains disjointed about it as a whole.
The book is divided into sections which focus on each character, bringing together their past and present to reveal how everything that has happened in their past is going to reflect on the future. It is the character Buddy in which the reader can most identify and feel compassion for throughout – his power of being able to see into the future is clearly a huge burden on him but ultimately it allows him to save his entire family.
As the reader gets to know and understand the characters and the struggles they all appear to deal with, from Frankie’s run ins with the Mafia, Teddy’s quest for love and Irene’s struggle to trust anyone, it is difficult really to get to know them properly as the writing style feels quite disjointed.
Every moment throughout seems to offer the reader a snapshot of their lives but nothing that allows the reader to get close to understanding them. Ultimately we feel as though we are a fly on the wall throughout.
But nonetheless, because of the quirkiness of the characters and the situations they manage to find themselves in, Spoonbenders still manages to draw the reader in by its flashes of humour and chaos that anyone part of a family can relate to.
For those who love a novel that isn’t straightforward this is a book that is certainly mind bending and has a quirky charm about it that might appeal to newcomers to Gregory’s work.
Spoonbenders is available to buy through Amazon now.