Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Love May Fail - Matthew Quick

Matthew Quick is the best selling author of a number of novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook and The Good Luck of Right Now.

His latest novel - Love May Fail - is newly released.

Portia Kane's marriage ends in spectacular fashion. Determined to save herself and perhaps find happiness - or at least solace - she heads back to her childhood home in New Jersey. Her high school English teacher Mr. Vernon was an unflinching, unfailing positive beacon in a somewhat bleak childhood. When she gets home, an old classmate gives her the bad news - Mr. Vernon was attacked by a student and gave up teaching. And Portia decides to save Mr. Vernon, just as he saved her. And maybe save herself in the process.

Quick continues the quirk factor in Love May Fail - each of the players is slightly left of center in one way or another. And many of the situations they find themselves in are just as unusual. I very much enjoy quirky characters that don't play to the mainstream.  But I did find Love May Fail somewhat recognizable. Quick relies on some familiar plot devices last seen in The Good Luck of Right Now, such as the church and religion, (this time it's a nun not a priest), a bar and its regulars, cancer makes an appearance again and literary references to a specific book. (Albert Camus replaces Carl Jung) And it is this somewhat familiar plot that drops this book from a fantastic read to a good read for me. I enjoyed it very much, but still there was just something that stopped me from loving it.

There are four parts to the book and each has a different narrator - Portia, Mr. Vernon, Sister Maeve and Chuck (bartender and also a past student of Mr. Vernon). Initially I was quite taken by Mr. Vernon (Quick was a high school teacher and the book's prologue reveals some of his own experiences that became part of Mr.Vernon) But, although I knew I should feel sympathy for the broken Mr. Vernon, I found it hard to see past his angry disillusionment. And the same for Portia. She is the driving force of the book, but I just didn't overly like her. Her determination to save her old teacher versus helping her mother bothered me. But, as she says "not everyone can be saved." The standout characters for me were Sister Maeve, Chuck and his wee nephew Tommy. Their stories, their struggles and their journeys were the most engaging for me - and the ones I was most invested in.

Faith, or if you prefer, serendipity binds the lives of every character to the others in mysterious ways. And that what if and why not is at the heart of Quick's novels - that if we let go and just go with it, things just might work out. Who's to say it couldn't happen? Read an excerpt of Love May Fail.

The cover? One of Mr. Vernon's lessons - and a pretty good one. The title? From Kurt Vonnegut's Jailbird.

"Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Oscar-winning film, and The Good Luck of Right Now. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention. Q lives with his wife, the novelist-pianist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks." Find out more about Matthew Quick at his website, follow him on Twitter, and connect with him on Facebook.  Check out  what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here. 


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I have to admit that I haven't read any of Quick's books in spite of hearing such great things about them. They all sound so good!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

Vicki said...

This is a new to me author. This book sounds really good!