Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favorites.
This week I’ve chosen “Now you see him” by Eli Gottlieb for my Throwback Thursday post. It was first published in January 2008 and was, for me, a 5 star read.
Male friendship explained — or not. This literary novel suggests that male friendship can be much more mysterious than female friendship. This is especially true when the friendship began in childhood and has evolved over many years. The friend is a minor celebrity and his suicide has a profound affect on the life of Nick, our protagonist, creating a ripple effect that in turn impacts the lives of those he holds dear.
Rob Castor, an author of minor fame, murders his girl-friend and then commits suicide. Upon hearing this tragic news, Nick Framingham, Rob’s oldest childhood friend must come to terms with his own life and past. In doing so he finds that all he holds dear might just be as elusive as the title Now you see him would suggest.
Nick’s wife Lucy who had previously been discontent in their marriage, believes that Nick’s obsession and grieving over Rob Castor’s death might well be the straw that breaks the back of their marriage. This proves to be a belief with grounds when we discover that Rob’s sister Belinda was an old love of Nicks and seems to hold an attraction for him still.
Set in upstate New York, in a small town whose secrets become putrid in the heat of the media attention after Rob’s death, one can feel the pain of the startling revelations exposed. Skeletons fall from closets and when they do Nick finds that everything he knew to be true is now up for reconsideration. His marriage, his parents, his work, in fact every aspect of his life suffers deeply after the “violent subtraction of Rob from life”.
Not a ‘whodunit’ in the traditional sense, this novel is more a psychological study written in beautiful prose. You know, the kind of novel where certain passages make you want to get out a notebook and write them down because their profoundness strikes a chord in your own life.
I wouldn’t term this a mystery novel. There was no crime to solve or perpetrator to catch. With a shocking ending to rival the best thriller, the suspense was in the relationships and how they interconnect. Not a light read, this book is one I’ll remember for a long time. A great novel for those who like a psychological study while being entertained.
Born in Manhattan and raised in New Jersey, Eli Gottlieb has worked as a Senior Editor of Elle Magazine and taught American Literature as a Lecturer at the University of Padova, Italy. His novels have won him the Rome Prize and the Mckitterick Prize of the British Society of Authors and have been published in 14 countries.