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Spoonbenders    by Daryl Gregory order for
by Daryl Gregory
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Spoonbenders straddles a line between magical realism and fantasy. The characters are very real they just happen to have psychic abilities but Daryl Gregory's plot is just too outrageous to be believable.

The Amazing Telemachus Family, under patriarch Teddy Telemachus, used to be famous until youngest son Buddy had a breakdown on national TV. That took their ace-in-the-hole mother Maureen off stage right before debunker Archibald was to make his proclamation on whether the family was real or fake. Disgraced, the Amazing Telemachus Family never appeared in public again.

Decades later, the family is barely holding on. Irene, the human lie detector, has trouble keeping a relationship. Frankie, who once used his telekinesis to rig a roulette game, is now gravely in debt to the mob, and Buddy seems to have gone off the deep end after his mother died. To complicate their lives even more, the younger generation is starting to show signs of their own psychic abilities.

Spoonbenders is a lot of fun even if the story is not the least bit realistic. At their core, all of Gregory's characters are very human, despite their superhuman powers, and this keeps them grounded even when the plot flies into a string of events more complicated than a Rube Goldberg machine. There is a lot going on in Spoonbenders, but Daryl Gregory manages to tie is all together expertly. Deep literature this is not, but an entertaining read all the same.

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