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310 pages, Kindle Edition
First published September 20, 2018
Bring nothing with you that you don’t mind leaving behind.This is steadfast Eustace’s story, from beginning to end, as he’s launched (and occasionally misdirected) into the world as a very young man. He’s looking back, as a middle-aged man undergoing radiation treatment, and truly he "made no attempt to hide his scars, but preferred not to dwell on the claws that had left them.” He and his family seemed initially to have shunned the church, although his mother suffers an unfortunate and horrifyingly distructive case of religious mania later in the book. She is not, as some misogynistic wretch reported in the cover blurb, a “difficult and controlling” woman in any way, and up until her spurious conversion, was exactly the opposite. I just loved her, even at her worst. Every character here, primary and secondary, is completely drawn and easily imaginable, even those who appear for only a paragraph. A number of them are surprising and memorable, which seems to be a hallmark of this author’s characters. Ben’s brother Bobby from The Whole Day Through still exists in my memory, and Eustace will stay with me as well (along with Louis’ tomato sauce recipe.)