In 1967, when ten-year-old Seth moves with his mother to a rural village deep in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, the last thing he expects to find is friendship. But someone is waiting for Seth in Hadley Falls.
Lily is a girl his own age who seems to be mysteriously attached to the old house that becomes his new home and a comforting refuge. Seth comes to accept the strange fact that no one seems to know about Lily, who keeps herself hidden from everyone else as she invents a new game to keep them together.
Set against the social turmoil of the Vietnam War years, Seth’ story is a mesmerizing tale of secrecy and deception driven by the rules of a game that turns deadly.
A native of Massachusetts, Norman Powers lived and worked in Manhattan for twenty-five years in the television and film industry, first as a studio technician and then as a writer and producer for his own New York-based production company. As a free-lance journalist and photographer, his work has appeared in regional magazines and newspapers, most recently for the arts and culture monthly Bold Life and the lifestyle quarterly Carolina Home and Garden. His play “Dottie & Fred”, based on the relationship between New Yorker writers Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley, has been presented by The Director’s Company in Manhattan and by Duke University’s Triangle Theater Festival. He is a past recipient of the biannual creative non-fiction award presented by the Hub City Writer’s Project, which has also published his short fiction. His novel “End Credits” was published in June of 2009. His new novel, "Lily's Game", is due to appear in 2014. He lives in Landrum, South Carolina.
I was provided a copy of Lily’s Game, by the author for an honest review.
The book begins with a letter, a letter and a manuscript for an editor in Springfield, Massachusetts. The letter itself is a thing of beauty, now it is not long, but the way it is written makes a person think, not just about the main plot, but about the events that transcribed between Seth and Lily and how it ultimately changed Seth. The beginning somewhat threw me for a loop. I had anticipated the story to be written in the third person. I expected a past tense recurrence, but in fact I got a man in a psychiatric ward, recounting his past and the time he spent with Lily and how he first came to meet her. The story is told by Seth remembering the events that took place in that house; it gives me the vibe that he wishes for the events to be written down so that, as he said in the letter, the fire in Hadley will be explained. The way the narrator recounts the events is phenomenal. He remembers all of the details, the kind of car the realtor was driving, what happened at his father’s funeral, even the response of the people around him, there is also the new sense of realization he feels like remembering how Lily knew his name before he ever mentioned it to her or the other things she knows without having been told about specific events. My favorite thing about the writing is how the story is told. It flows so perfectly from the present to the past and past to present. Each chapter flows from the narrator in the ward to the past upon his entering the house and his certain events that changed his perspective on life. Everything that happened, I seemed to know would happen, just not in the way I thought it would. The descriptions are powerful in this story, they make you see everything, feel everything Seth is feeling when he is doing Lily’s bidding. I am beginning to wonder if while this little girl does not want to be alone, she is causing those people around to be alone, such as the old couple who lived in the house before Seth and his mother. She drove that old to kill his wife and then kill himself; she drove Seth to kill Mr. Harlon, and then claimed that she had nothing to with it and that it was Seth who did it. She drove these people to be alone so that she could, I really don’t know what she felt after she made them do these things. I do know that she focused on their weaknesses and just kept picking at that, and picking at it until there was nothing left but to do what Lily wanted them to do. The story really picked up pace towards the end, due to the plan that the narrator, Seth, set into motion. He planned to make up for his crimes and to finally tell the truth as to what has happened and how it happened, and who Lily was and her part in the crimes and that sadly she is still there. It was an amazing story, the amount suspense that was there. How part of me wanted to scream at Seth to be strong and to not listen to her and to leave, but with some part of me knowing that he would do what Lily wanted because he believed that she was his only friend and was the only who could protect him. Seth’s relationship with Vivvie was the better friendship and was the one that he should have pursued but he and I both knew that there was a possibility that Lily would become upset and have something bad happen to Vivvie when she was at Seth’s house. I really enjoyed everything about this book, the plot, the characters, the amount of suspense, and even like tiny bit of romance that sort of insued between Seth and Vivvie. But the best thing by far is how it is written, kind of like memoir that Seth is writing in his last days of life so that he can get everything down and let the editor of this newspaper know everything that happened and how all of this came to be, and all of it because of one little girl that no one knows is there.
In Lily’s Game, Norm Powers proves himself to be a writer of elegant, sophisticated prose. Through graceful poetic language the narrator, a thoughtful and troubled man, takes the reader into his past to reveal the circumstances of Lily’s dangerous game and of the two playmates who vow to be forever friends. It is both a coming of age and a coming of doom novel from which neither the boy Seth nor the reader can disengage. The prose is soothing in its eloquence yet seductive in its invitation to join in, albeit, as a merely a witness, helpless to control the downward spiral of a soul led to eternal woe. Powers constructs a complex plot filled with prickly, uncomfortable tension and layered with more than a few of the seven deadly sins, and the reader is left to ponder where the demons reside. Are they external forces or are they coming from inside our own houses?
This book is only 131 pages but surprisingly a slower read.the structure of the book is very nice.it is a hard back with textured covers. No writing on the book itself, just passion grey.the book jacket has a, very interesting picture though. The story itself us a rather sad yet frightening one. There ate many people to sympathize with yet the main character us someone that you hurt for but hate. This book is an adult book, so slightly difficult to read, but the change of diction was nice to have street so much YA reading. Also the sophisticated wording helps put you on the time frame. I would recommend this book to anyone with a good vocabulary who likes ghost stories or other paranormal realistic fiction.
While I enjoyed this book, it left me with many questions. And few answers. The story centers around a young boy and his mother. They leave the only safety and home they have ever known when the father dies. The end up in a small town, far away from everyone. There the boy meets Lily. His one and only friend. But Lily isn't like everyone else. And things seem to be happening quicker than he can imagine. Or is it all his imagination? Quick and easy read, but like I said, it will leave you will many questions.
I enjoyed this book. I like the writing style. The characters were all unique; you really got a good sense of what each of them were like. Lily was the most interesting character for me. I wish I had known more about her background. The book was pretty predictable. It didn't completely ruin the story for me, though. Overall I would recommend this book to others.