Matty Telemachus left his body for the first time in the summer of 1995, when he was fourteen years old.
–Daryl Gregory - Spoonbenders - c.2017
The Amazing Telemachus Family were about to reach dizzying heights of fame and fortune in the 1970s, when a live television magic display went all wrong and they were revealed as nothing but tricksters. Now, two decades on the family are still dealing with the fall-out from what happened then. Only they weren’t tricksters, they really do have powers, as Matty has just learned for himself with his astral projection.
Told from the viewpoint of the different family members; Teddy, a master conman, heads up a clan who possess gifts he only fakes: Irene, the human lie detector; Frankie, gifted with telekinesis; and Buddy, the clairvoyant, and the next generation is represented by Matty.
It’s an interesting story. One I almost gave up on because I have this thing where I ignore chapter headings even when I know they are important and so had to keep double checking who exactly was telling the story. But that’s my fault, not the books. Because really it is quite easy to tell who’s narrating what, they all have their own quirks and mannerisms.
It isn’t my usual sort of book, and I don’t think I would have picked it up without that rec, but it is always good to try new things from time to time. How else will you learn what you like and don’t like? It is an easy read, but not altogether a fluff read. It brings up plenty of interesting topics, how women end up having to do the heavy lifting in families3 and what happens when you can see the future and it is something you don’t want to happen. How do you deal with that when you know that if you’ve seen it *that* has to happen, but maybe some fuzzy things can be changed, and if they can how do you do that?
As I said, I quite liked this book, it was entertaining, humourous, and is worth a read.
It is also one of those books that shows how useless it is to categorise books by genre. It features a magical family, therefore it is fantasy. Only I wouldn’t say that many bookshops or libraries4 would market it as such, it goes with the general fiction. And non-fantasy fans would have no problem reading and enjoying it, never once thinking that it might be a fantasy book, because they don’t like that sort of thing :) Well, maybe they just don’t like epic fantasy… after all, all fiction is fantasy when you think about it because it is all made up.