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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  12,684 ratings  ·  1,801 reviews
The year is 1995.

Meet the Telemachuses: an apparently ordinary family with strikingly obvious issues. Their individual personalities are eccentric, their intergenerational relationships are strained, their collective failures are well documented, and their finances are, well, let's not even go there.

The city is Chicago.

For Grandson Matty Telemachus, this is just the way th
Paperback, 496 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Vintage (first published June 27th 2017)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  12,684 ratings  ·  1,801 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Spoonbenders is a mindbender! Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

The Telemachus family is an off-the-wall family where at least some of the family members have actual psychic powers. This gets them into more trouble than you can believe, and this story of their lives and the crisis points that buffet them is both hilarious and touching. Spoonbenders is set mostly in 1995, but there are multiple flashbacks as well as points of view, and several twists and surprises along the way. So it’s a
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Imagine you live with a baker. You are treated weekly to such home-baked deliciousness as double-chocolate peppermint cookies, lemon squares, blueberry puree oat bars, lemon ricotta cookies and almond toffee bars. Now imagine you wander into the kitchen and the baker hands you a chocolate-chip cookie, fresh from the package.

mmm, preservatives.

Such was my experience reading Spoonbenders, by Daryl Gregory. I really enjoy Gregory's work--three of his books are five-star reads for me--but this mi
This... is one of the most fun, out of the box books I read this year. Fabulous!
The story of the gifted Telemachus family (or are they con men?) .... wow! Never read anything like it. The Telemachus family, headed by Teddy Telemachus is a family with special gifts. Above all, Maureen, Teddy's wife, is the real genuine psychic of immense and mysterious power. Teddy, well, he seems to be a charming con man with a gift for sleight of hand. Their three kids grow up troubled, gifted as well... Irene
Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory is a 2017 Knopf publication.

This book was a real treat for me! It’s eccentric, hilarious, a madcap family saga, and a thoroughly entertaining fantasy.

I am showing my age here, but I do remember stage shows during the 1970’s where people performed variations of telekinesis, such as bending spoons with their minds. I had forgotten all about these stage/magic shows until I saw the title of this book and I knew I had to read it.

This story is centered around ‘The Amaz
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, arc
This book is like one of the magic tricks Teddy Telemachus performs in it - and like the very best magic tricks, you know a trick is being performed on you, you know your eyes are purposefully forced, you know a trick is coming - and you still get blindsided when it finally happens. It was just so awfully clever and I had such a blast trying to figure things out ahead. I enjoyed this so much while at the same time wanting to whack some characters on their heads.

The Amazing Telemachus' are a fam
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I started this multi-generational account of a family of performing “mystics” and thought. . . ooooh, this is going to be fun.

Daryl Gregory's writing style and tone seemed, initially, similar both to Michael Chabon's and Jeffrey Eugenides's (two of my favorite living writers) and I waited patiently for those staggering observations, gut punches and deep character studies to emerge.

They never did.

This is one of the “safest” books I've ever read. If it were a man, I'd say he was a eunuch.

4.25 stars

Often hilarious, sometimes ridiculous, and always full of heart, this story following a family of psychics (or are they?) is a fun, wild ride.

Each member of the exasperating Amazing Telemachus family has their own sets of stresses and struggles, each as interesting (and hilarious) as the others. They're so much fun (and frustrating) to follow and Gregory gives each of them a unique, believable voice. Teddy, Irene, Frankie, Buddy, and Matty, as well as deceased matriarch, Maureen, a lo
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

4.5 Stars

“Once, we were Amazing.”

As soon as I saw this title on NetGalley I had what I’d like to call a “♪♫♫♪ I want something just like this ♪♫♫♪” moment . . . .

When I saw the author was Daryl Gregory, who I’ve had pretty decent luck with a couple of times in the past, my decision to click the request button was solidified.

Spoonbenders is about exactly what the title would lead you to believe – maybe . . . .

“That was just
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of Daryl Gregory before reading this book, but having read Spoonbenders, I definitely plan to explore more of his work. This was a fabulous, tightly plotted and heart-warming story about the Telemachus family.
Do they have psychic abilities? Are they frauds and conmen? Remote viewing? Moving objects? Lie detectors? Seeing the future? How can the family pull together to change their fate and fortune?

Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
A very fun listen about a telekinetic family. I enjoyed the subtle changes in inflection when the narrator voiced the different character's chapters, and loved the jobs of these telekinetic people, from spy to card shark.

(Received an early copy of the audio from the publisher.)
Montzalee Wittmann
by Daryl Gregory
This delicious book had me back and forth... con family or real deal?
A great read or listen (got this audible gem from the library) as they do fake cons, and you know they are fake but then they blow you away with a psychic prediction or such. I love stories about psychics and this was a fun book!
The narration was excellent too!
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This should be right up the alley of all you folks who like epic family stories. You know, the whole generational thing with patriarchs (who happen to be expert con-men), children with special (albeit mild) psychical abilities, (read NOT X-MEN), and the difficulties of living in Chicago between the sixties and mid-nineties.

Mind you, we're dealing with mostly realistic stuff here. Tons of it is illusion tricks but this family is special, anyway, between truth-sensing, clairvoyance, and a minor t
Heidi The Reader
A con-man and a highly talented psychic fall in love and have children with extraordinary talents. But this doesn't automatically give them an extraordinary life. They struggle to hold down jobs and support each other, while mourning the loss of one of their members and a career in showmanship.

One night, years before this story takes place, the Telemachus family was on a late night show, introducing themselves to the world. But a skeptic proved a portion of their act to be fake and the family's
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

What do you get when you mix clairvoyance and psychokinesis with Cold War secret agents, the Chicago mob, shady con artists, and a dysfunctional family undergoing a crisis of zany proportions? You get Spoonbenders, a wildly original, humorous, and unexpectedly heartwarming tale of paranormal drama. This book had everything in it—and I do mean EVERYTHING—but I’ve seen Daryl Gregory pull off some pretty amazing things with
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Psychics, mobsters, G-men and more!

I seem to be on a family drama bender this year, I can’t seem to gulp enough of these down. And with a resolutions hangover that is pushing me to clear the virtual and physical book shelves, I reached in and pulled out this 2017 gem that’s been languishing too long and what a treat it was to meet this zany family.

Meet the most charming con man Teddy Telemachus, his wife, the real deal psychic, Maureen, and their children: Irene the human lie detector, Fran
Lucy Banks
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

A fun, novel idea, propped up by some fantastic characters.

When I read the description of this book, I thought 'what's not to like'? A family with psychic abilities, a run-in with the mob, the usual lies, deception and angsty relationships? Yeah, I can get behind all that!

For the most part, I wasn't disappointed. The book follows the Telemachus family, three generations of them, to be precise - the dapper con-man Ted
Sonja Arlow
3.5 stars

This was the perfect book to follow The Devil All the Time because I was in desperate need of something sweet and quirky.

The story is something I could picture Joshilyn Jackson writing so if you are a fan of this author I think you will definitely enjoy this book.

The Telemachus family is a bit of a puzzle, are they just excellent con-artists or is there more to their abilities?

Out of everyone that had a chance to tell their story Buddy stole my heart. He lives in the past and future bu
Liz Barnsley
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved loved LOVED this. Going to be one of my books of the year. Quirky, ironic, madly engaging characters and beautifully written and plotted. Full of magically wonderful surprises.

Full review later this month (and a little interview with the author) as part of the tour.

(Also sticking two fingers up to book snobs who think genre fiction can't be "Literary")

Spoonbenders is a miraculously readable speculative family drama featuring the Amazing Telemachus family – who are all actually amaz
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Not enough bending, of spoons or expectations or my mind.
I'm not finishing, but the first half seems a pretty pedestrian "family with secrets and issues" realistic novel.

My reading history with DG:
1st Gregory = Pandaemonium: Wow, that was excellent, why did I wait so long to try this author?
2nd Gregory = Harrison Squared: Disappointingly not-great compared with Pandaemonium, but fine, I enjoyed it.
(some short stories I don't remember, I'm not a short story person, but they were fine.)
3rd = Spoo
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
2.5 (it was okay) for me but I'll bump it up to a 3 because I'm such a sweetheart (said no one ever).

This is the story of a once famous family who were shamed when their patriarch screws up on national tv and exposes himself for a fraud. Except they’re not all frauds but try telling that to anyone after the public shaming. Now they have to eek out a living like the rest of us schulbs. I think I’m one of the few people who did not find this book exciting, humorous and a rip-roaring good time. I d
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-release
This book is wacky but with a heart of gold. The Telemachus family once demonstrated their supernatural powers onstage for adoring fans, but the matriarch died young, the three kids are all grown, and no one in the family has found the success those glittery early years promised. Now Frankie is in debt up to his eyeballs, Irene and her teenage son have moved in with her dad, and Uncle Buddy is functionally mute. When one of the newest generation of Telemachuses starts showing signs of latent tal ...more
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. What's to say? I loved this book. The book has a slow start, but once I had met all the members of the Telemachus family, I was totally invested in the story and loved the dialogue and the plot. This book of psychics and (maybe?) failed con artists was a lot of fun, with convoluted, and at times ridiculous, plots hatched by the Telemachus men, and employment and relationship struggles experienced by the sole remaining female member of the family, Irene. The book moves back and forth i ...more
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
His best novel so far.

I say “so far” because he just keeps getting better. All of his books that I’ve read have been multi-layered and intricately sophisticated, complex yet approachable, tangent to creepy and with paranormal undertones but ultimately fun and enjoyable.

Like Hooters – delightfully tacky yet unrefined.

His 2017 outing, which garnered oodles of award nominations and enough peer recognition to fuel a grassroots movement, shares with much of his canon a penchant for the supernatural,
Book Riot Community
Once upon a time, the Telemachuses were famous. With a telekinetic, a psychic, and a human lie detector in the family, they were a wonder to citizens and secret agents everywhere. But twenty years later, the family is disgraced and in shambles, trying desperately to make ends meet. A visit from an old friend at the CIA checking to see if they have any remaining powers seems to be a waste of time, but what the family doesn’t know is that one of the children has just discovered he has the ability ...more
*thanks to NetGalley, the publishers and the author for providing me with a free ecopy of this book in exchange for a (clearly) honest and unbiased review*

This book was very strange -which i was expecting! I mean com on! We are talking about a family that apparently is able to perform magic. So clearly it was going to be strange.

But it was too strange for me if that makes any sense.

I hated the opening scene of this book.
Which is not a good way to start a book for me! I do always have a hard t
I had dithered about picking this novel up for months, and once into it, I dithered again... UNTIL... it suddenly all came together, merging into a lovely, goofy, totally charming hug about this endearingly quixotic, quirky and oddly relatable family.

Psychic powers which aren’t much good for anything, except a cancelled TV show. A con man father who has Mob connections, and revenge on his mind. Irene, the daughter who can spot every lie. Frank can move objects, but only at random times and his
Megan C.
My first read of 2018 gets a five star rating.  BOOM.  How awesome is that?!  My book club picked this novel for our January theme of magical realism (a genre which I’m finding I enjoy more and more) and I absolutely loved it.

I thought the characters in this story were so well constructed, they were each loveably flawed, quirky, and so fun to watch develop as the storyline progressed.  I felt like the plot was perfectly paced – it kept me completely engrossed and I had no idea what would happen
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, sci-fi

A unique novel and not similar to anything I’ve read before, I was looking forward to this for a while and the concept of the plot was intriguing to say the least. However, I found the idea better than the execution and was never able to fully absorb myself into it. This could partly be blamed down to me and how tired I’ve been of late (parenthood!) or in part to do with how little I was invested in the story.

The narrative switches not only perspectives but times. There are a number of cha
Sebastien Castell
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, literary
There just aren't a lot of authors who consistently put out books with an unusual yet accessible premise, fluid, thoughtful prose, and storylines that stray from the usual genre formulas while still being compelling from first page to last. Spoonbenders is hard to categorize, sitting as it does somewhere between contemporary fantasy, family drama, and a sort of mystery in which we're trying to figure out what one of the characters has been doing for years while his family just assumes he's kind ...more
Wasn't bad at all but I struggled to get into it. It had a lot of funny moments and the family dynamic is interesting but it just wasn't for me. I believe a lot of people will really enjoy this book though! ...more
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Award-winning author of Spoonbenders, We Are All Completely Fine, Afterparty, Pandemonium, and others. Some of his short fiction has been collected in Unpossible and Other Stories.

He's won the World Fantasy Award, as well as the Shirley Jackson, Crawford, Asimov Readers, and Geffen awards, and his work has been short-listed for many other awards, including the Nebula . His books have been translat

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