Viking. Aug. 2019. 416p. ISBN 9780525560456. $27; ;.
Floundering with his dissertation, English grad student Matthew is wandering about New York when he’s passed by a beautiful “boy” on a skateboard (who’s actually in his early twenties), and they click. The boy, Leif, introduces Matthew to his “working group,” a set of idealists involved with Occupy Wall Street. Leif is (maybe?) telepathic, some of the others also have occult skills, and their vague aim is to use telepathy and empathy to transform society. The pace thus far has been painfully slow, but that changes when the group hacks the computer of a government contractor. The State becomes interested and arrests ensue; the book turns into a quasi-thriller for a while, then slows down again. Crain’s (Necessary Errors) writing is serviceable and competent but suffers from a surfeit of detail, much of it unnecessary and relevant to nothing. There is a lot going on here, which means there is a lot to explain; the story would have been much better were it 100 pages shorter.
VERDICT Overly ambitious and interesting in concept but flawed in execution; the sum of the parts far exceeds the whole
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