At 544 pages, reading Edgar and Lucy is no light undertaking. Add to that it’s focus on the confusing topics of death, loss, love, grief, abduction, coming of age, sensitivity/insensitivity, suicide, and survival– you need to think twice before reading it.
It was recommended to me by a very literary friend and fellow book blogger (who likes darker books than I do) as the best book she read out of many in 2017. When she reassured me this one wasn’t violent, and after checking it out several times from the library without reading it, I finally gave it a go. And she was right. I cannot NOT give this one 5 stars.
It is about an eight year old boy, Edgar, his mother, Lucy, and the boy’s grandmother. It is set in New Jersey, and is also about a few peripheral men as well. Edgar is an albino, a fact which plays into the story only slightly. The story twists and turns and then hurtles forward, starting slowly, and gaining speed and tenacity. For sure, Edgar is one character you will never forget, since the writing is so excellent you virtually inhabit him for a good long while.
The writing is brilliantly done, without being self-conscious. It is deeply perceptive and very observant, littered with similes and refractions, which are never awkward. Although I loved the similes, I didn’t always buy the refractions, but this didn’t get in the way of the story for me. And while the veil between death and life is depicted as thinner than I think it actually is, I could accept that this is what the characters were thinking at the time. But with writing this evocative, you also temporarily feel what they attributively felt, and you realize there is never any black and white to the human condition. We all simply do the best we can, muddling through somehow. This story is told with out sympathy, both very directly and quite convolutedly at the same time. However, it rings true because it exudes lots of matter-of-fact compassion.
Given the subject matter and size of this book, most of you won’t read it, but wow, this is a redeeming example of post modern literature, which was especially appreciated by me after reading and abandoning several others recently. Now on to something lighter, shorter, and more fun!