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Now You See Him    by Eli Gottlieb order for
Now You See Him
by Eli Gottlieb
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Boy Who Went Away by Eli Gottlieb won the prestigious Rome Prize, the 1998 McKitterick Prize from the British Society of Authors, and was a New York Times Notable Book. Well earned praise for a wonderful book.

Gottlieb's Now You See Him is also sure to win acclaim. This gripping novel chronicles the relationship between Nick Framingham and Rob Castor. Castor murdered his girlfriend and then committed suicide. How could the boy, and later man, that Nick knew and loved get caught up in a situation that was fraught with the degree of overwhelming turmoil that would trigger such a tragedy?

As Nick relates his life with Rob, we begin to see each one with his own distinct personality, able to live life on his own terms but still needing the rapport they share. When Rob's life begins to fall apart, Nick is no longer in touch with him. As the novel progresses, we see Nick trying to comprehend what to him is an impossibility. How could this violence have happened? What went wrong in Rob's life that caused it to take the turn it did?

Gottlieb manages to present a horrific happening in charged but delicate terms. His rendering of Rob's and Nick's story oozes with sympathy for both men but never lets the reader forget that Rob committed murder. Now You See Him is a gracefully worded tale that is far larger than the small book that holds it. I do hope we, the reading public, don't have to wait as long for Eli Gottlieb's third novel as we did for the second.

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