Victor Lodato’s Edgar and Lucy is a strangely alluring saga that, with every turn of the page, lures the reader in with stunning writing and simmering tension.
The novel follows 8-year-old Edgar Allan Fini, a skinny Albino boy who is torn between loving two women in his life: his young mother, Lucy, who, while capable of motherly devotion at times, is trying to figure out her own life surrounded by various “suitors” and impaired by alcohol. Then there’s Florence, Edgar’s traditional Italian grandmother and caregiver who feels broken whenever Edgar is away. All three are bound by the loss of Lucy’s late husband, Frank Fini, who took his own life after suffering from mental illness. Still coping with grief, each member of the trio deals with Frank’s absence in different ways, and each one uses his death as a catalyst for their actions.
When Edgar disappears with a mysterious man, Lucy searches high and low for him, a quest that enraptures his suburban New Jersey hometown. The reader is thrown into the hunt as well, and suddenly, the novel’s 544 pages race by, while touching on such themes as the meaning of family and motherhood, suicide and the afterlife. This is where author Lodato’s background as a playwright becomes invaluable; the action moves with a fluid, nearly perfect pace, and readers may feel as if they are watching a play they can’t step away from.
Lodato, whose 2009 debut novel Mathilda Savitch won the PEN USA Award for Fiction, writes with clarity and punch, making this evocative tale of loss and redemption one you won’t be able to put it down.