Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Beneath the Neon Egg"

Thomas E. Kennedy’s many books include novels, story and essay collections, literary criticism, translations, and anthologies. Beneath the Neon Egg is the final book in his Copenhagen Quartet, following In the Company of Angels, Falling Sideways, and Kerrigan in Copenhagen.

Kennedy applied the Page 69 Test to Beneath the Neon Egg and reported the following:
From Page 69:
“You take a year off, you may never get back to it,” [Bluett says to his son, Timothy]. “Then you'll be stuck. I know what I'm talking about. I took a leave of absence at the beginning of my university studies, and it took me three years to get back to it. I couldn’t finish until I got here [to Copenhagen], and it ruined my chances for an academic career.”

“Who wants an academic career?” [Timothy asks.]

“You might. You can't know yet for sure. Don't cut yourself off. Don't shut the door on yourself.” Bluett hears what he is saying, hears cliché after cliché, knows that he is saying what he wishes his own father had said to him all those years before instead of giving him permission to do as he pleased, make his own mistakes, his father who was too lost in his. Yet at the same time he senses that nothing can be accomplished with this conversation. Perhaps it is enough just to register his resistance…

“If you need money, Tim – or anything at all, you only have to ask. If I can help you, I’ll be glad to.” Will you reach that far to me? But the boy is staring out the window, lips pursed.
These are the words of divorced 43-year-old Patrick Bluett to his college-age son, and I believe these were some of the lines the Kansas City Star had in mind when calling the novel – in an earlier incarnation from an Irish publisher – one of the noteworthy books of the year, adding, “No one writes about the loves and lives of men better than Kennedy, including their relationships with their own children.”
Learn more about the book and author at Thomas E. Kennedy's website.

The Page 69 Test: In the Company of Angels.

--Marshal Zeringue