The Counterfeiter

B&E. Aug. 2020. 252p. ISBN 9781733243001. pap. $13.99. F
[DEBUT] In the early 1950s, Edward Vann is laboring over his first novel at his palatial Hamptons home, when his sister Fiona asks him to hire a Columbia student to be a handyman on the estate for the summer. Ari Edelman is a scrappy young man from Long Island whose father also works with Mr. Vann. Here the narrative splits, and we have Ari’s version of the story in the moment and also an alternative perspective. The second point of view is from a fictional version of Ari, renamed Ned Deane. Ned’s point of view is actually an older Ari rewriting his young summer with Edward as he might have preferred it. In this fantasy, Ned becomes Edward’s editor, confidant, and then lover. Ned’s story also details some seedy sides to Edward’s life and his past, including some disturbing scenes of sexual abuse. As the story moves between these two versions, readers will be transported to very different worlds that reveal much about Ari’s imagination.
VERDICT This ambitious debut from first novelist Cone is suitable for readers seeking an escapist literary read with an intriguing twist.
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