Released: April 2014
The Good Luck of Right Now is possibly the most compelling novel I have read for years. From the offset, Bartholomew Neil – the main protagonist – drew me into his off-beat and dysfunctional world where he is struggling to cope with the loss of his mother, the subsequent grief and being alone for the first time in his adult life.
At thirty-nine years old, Bartholomew starts an incredible – and unfamiliar – journey which is mostly told through his confidential letters to an imaginary friend, who coincidentally is also his most memorable link to his late Mum. As Bartholomew’s life takes its extraordinary twists and turns, we catch small glimpses into his past as he reflects and muses on how he would like his life to be, and we follow his path as he stumbles, questions and listens – with irritation – to his inner conscience stabbing at him in rebellion and frustration at his being where he is – right now!
Bartholomew’s journey unfolds with surprisingly touching, funny, heartfelt and occasionally tear-jerking revelations. His gutsy and life-changing expedition rapidly develops when he adopts a motley set of characters. One is an older friend who has a drinking problem, another he has recently befriended as a direct result of some alternative grief-counselling, and the other as a result of regular trips to the library and an amazing coincidence. Together they travel to Canada with him on a quest.
The disparate crew are faced with the punishing realities of being society’s outcasts, whilst simultaneously making discoveries which are revealing and sometimes stark. It takes the combination of a protective, big-hearted ex-priest, a child-like but adult cat lover and his desperate sister to bring out the best in Bartholomew. Whilst a chain of unpredictable, potentially devastating and extraordinary events unravel before them with startling speed, Bartholomew’s optimism, acceptance of life’s coincidences and the ‘good luck of right now’, coupled with his innate empathy and acts of genuine kindness towards his friends in the face of adversity, help restore a sense of hope, trust and resolution for his new found adopted ‘family’.
Deeply insightful and told with a sharp and perceptive grasp of human weaknesses, yet never maudlin, Matthew Quick is a master storyteller. Written with warmth, quick wit and above all, compassion, The Good Luck of Right Now is impossible to put down. I will be first in the queue for his next novel.