Monday, March 13, 2023

"The Lost Americans"

Christopher Bollen is the author of the critically acclaimed novels A Beautiful Crime, The Destroyers, Orient, and Lightning People. He is a frequent contributor to a number of publications, including Vanity Fair, The New York Times, and Interview. He lives in New York City.

Bollen applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Lost Americans, and reported the following:
I had no idea where in the novel we’d be on page 69—not yet in Egypt, but somewhere between the Berkshires and New York City? As it happens, we find Cate back home in Western Massachusetts to attend her brother’s funeral. Eric has died mysteriously in Cairo, and Cate is convinced that it wasn’t suicide. Page 69 contains one of the most important tangible clues in the novel, one that will eventually compel Cate to book a plane ticket to Cairo to hunt down exactly what happened to her brother. She’s doing the dishes in her mother’s house when a FedEx truck pulls into the driveway. A package arrives which turns out to be Eric’s personal effects, shipped home to the next of kin. Cate wastes no time going through the items, and amid the folded clothes and toiletries she discovers a neck chain with a pendant on it that she couldn’t recall her brother wearing. It’s a little silver medallion of St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. Her brother didn’t wear jewelry and he wasn’t religious, and Cate can’t figure out how it got mixed in with his stuff. A family member has such limited window when a loved one dies overseas—everything happened across an ocean, misted in unfamiliarity and bureaucracy. Cate’s only recourse is to read deeply into whatever scraps of clues she is given. Is she fooling herself and it was a suicide? Or did someone murder her brother and larger forces covered it up? Well, that gets answered after page 69.
Visit Christopher Bollen's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Beautiful Crime.

--Marshal Zeringue