Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory


Daryl Gregory

Harnessing the imaginative powers that have made him a master storyteller, Daryl Gregory delivers a stunning, laugh-out-loud new novel about a family of gifted dreamers and the invisible forces that bind us all.

Start Reading….

Read Excerpt Now


Sign me up to receive news about Daryl Gregory.

Place our blog button on your blog to let people know you are a member of this great program!


"Hilarious, heartfelt and brimming with humanity.” —Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest

Teddy Telemachus is a charming con man with a gift for sleight of hand and some shady underground associates. In need of cash, he tricks his way into a classified government study about telekinesis and its possible role in intelligence gathering. There he meets Maureen McKinnon, and it’s not just her piercing blue eyes that leave Teddy forever charmed, but her mind—Maureen is a genuine psychic of immense and mysterious power. After a whirlwind courtship, they marry, have three gifted children, and become the Amazing Telemachus Family, performing astounding feats across the country. Irene is a human lie detector. Frankie can move objects with his mind. And Buddy, the youngest, can see the future. Then one night tragedy leaves the family shattered.

Decades later, the Telemachuses are not so amazing. Irene is a single mom whose ear for truth makes it hard to hold down a job, much less hold together a relationship. Frankie’s in serious debt to his dad’s old mob associates. Buddy has completely withdrawn into himself and inexplicably begun digging a hole in the backyard. To make matters worse, the CIA has come knocking, looking to see if there’s any magic left in the Telemachus clan. And there is: Irene’s son Matty has just had his first out-of-body experience. But he hasn’t told anyone, even though his newfound talent might just be what his family needs to save themselves—if it doesn’t tear them apart in the process.

Harnessing the imaginative powers that have made him a master storyteller, Daryl Gregory delivers a stunning, laugh-out-loud new novel about a family of gifted dreamers and the invisible forces that bind us all.

Advance Galley Reviews

Spoonbenders was a laugh out loud story about a family born from mixing a genuine psychic with a con-man. If you're looking for a book that's a little bit kooky, a lot a bit interesting, not too heavy with the perfect amount of funny, Spoonbenders is it.

This book had everything I was expecting in it. Depth, humour and so forth. I absolutely loved reading it. The author is certainly on my TBR lists from now on.

"The Misfortune of Marion Palm" is an unexpected piece of fiction. It is at times laugh-out-loud funny, intensely sad, and relief at the end that everything comes out okay. Not a happy ending but no one is left dead which is a question up until the very last chapter. The characters are quirky and likeable which is difficult to do when they include an embezzler and adulterer. By the conclusion, you are rooting for both which you are definitely not anticipating. I can't wait to see what this author comes out with next!

This is an excellent and well done book that deserves the buzz it is getting. The reader easily falls into the story and is drawn in quickly to the Telemachas family. I thought the author did an excellent job of depicting the relationship among the siblings. The author found depth but with humor and poignancy and the the story is well developed and plotted. The swapping view points in each chapter actually worked well as did the flashbacks. All in all, time well spent.

This book was completed unexpected in a good way. It is funny, light, magical and full of everything I didn't know I wanted until it was right in front of me. It draws you in so quickly, and holds you with wonderful tension and intrigue. The only thing that could have made this better would be for the book to welcome you into the Telemachus family with your own magic ability... clearly that's some swag we would all be in for! The siblings in this story, Irene, Frankie and Buddy, echo so many truths about what it means to be embattled siblings who have forgotten how to use each other's strength and to also be so very flawed in a modern society. The way I wrote that, I imagine that some siblings will immediately relate (even if we don't have any innate magic!), and others will think... what is she talking about? You'll have to read to see. Highly recommended read for those who love a bit of illusion and fun, carnival "tricks", and family.

I was first intrigued by the description of this book, but also unsure if this would be the kind of story that would keep me interested. Very quickly I was drawn into the story. It is not a typical story that I would enjoy, but I looked forward to returning to the book every time that I had to set it down. Although the story center's around the Telemachus family and their powers, there is a CIA agent, and a few of the local mob family that are all part of the daily lives of one or more of the Telemachus clan. Surprisingly, these additional characters add excitement and intrigue into the story although seemingly the kind of characters that would not blend well in a story about a family with supernatural abilities. I especially liked that the author wrote from each family members perspective, but didn't over tell the same situation from different points, instead the story was told linearly, with a new perspective as the story unfolded. I would definitely recommend this book, not as an light beach read, but as a perfect rainy day or cold winter day book to curl up with for the day.

Many thanks to First To Read program, by Penguin books, for g me to read this in proof form. I completely understand the buzz that this is generating, it is a superbly written book that to me reads like 'Geek Love' via 'The Sopranos' but without the heaviness of either. It is immediately visual, and sets up the family dynamic straight away. A broken family who never recovered from a staged t.v breakdown, this disparate group of related people need to come together or stand forever disjointed. Whether they have 'superpowers' or not is open to debate as only the grandfather bears witness to this, the story is a very humane and funny one and examines what it would be like to have powers in a world that does not believe in them.

MIND-bending. Master storytelling. Best sci-fi I've ever read.

The main characters reminded me of eccentric families like the Sycamores of "You Can't Take it With You" and more recent clans like the Royal Tenenbaums. If you enjoyed either of these families in book or movie form you will probably enjoy the adventures of the Telemachuses. While I liked the plot device of giving individual family members their own chapters but keeping narration in third person, I found myself losing interest when the focus was on Frankie's schemes and money woes. The flashbacks worked well to develop the individual characters and I loved seeing the adults navigate the changes the Internet brought to their work and personal lives. This is a long book (400+ pages) and I ended up skimming some portions to get to others. I might revisit the book if it becomes available at my local library and I would definitely recommend it to my friends with similar interests.

Spoonbenders Characters were quirky, writing was good. I had a really had time bouncing back and forth between the early stories as they seemed to ramble a bit, however, I feel that is very much how all of Teddy Telemachuses' life is spent- rambling through his own desires, whims and cons. The only thing I feel Teddy didn't ramble though was his marriage to the love is his life, Maureen. As we met each family member we get a better sense of their powers, what drives them and how they fit into Daryl Gregory's story. My favorite character is the wacky, yet non-communicative Buddy. He does strange things, you don't know into needed that makes for a good story. When the book finally starts moving along I feel a swayed to the other wise, what surfaces is a crazy, well planned out adventure between the mob, i suggest you read the book to figure this up what happens next. I don't believe you will regret it!

“The thing about skeletons was, you never knew how much space they were taking up in the closet until you got rid of them.” Spoonbenders is a funny story about a family. This particular family, the Amazing Telemachus Family, is a family of psychics. Each with abilities to astound and dazzle. Except, they don’t really work, and maybe they don’t exist at all. In each chapter we meet Teddy, the family patriarch; Irene, the human lie detector; Frankie, who can move objects with his mind; Buddy, who can see the future; and Matty, Irene’s son and who recently discovered he can astral project. Each chapter is told through one of their eyes, and they alternate the narrative, driving the both the plot forward and filling in the gaps of the past through their own perspective. This novel is a story of misunderstanding, miscommunication and misperceptions.All families have secrets. Big secrets that we pray never sees the light of day. Little secrets that we hope never come out, but would cause little damage if they did. And a myriad of white lies, major lies and medium sized secrets mixed in for good measure. The Telemachus family is no different. The story unfolds in the mid-90’s. Life has given them disappointment and heartache since they were kids. They find themselves facing a life they don’t recognize, and have gone down a path to try to fix that. But small choices can have big consequences. As they each decide how to move forward, they all think they are acting in the best interest of their family. Matty only wants to help his mom make some extra money so she’ll be happy and they can move out of his grandpa’s house. Irene just wants to find some peace of mind and raise a normal son. Frankie wants the world for his family, to regain the notoriety they once had, and live the life he thinks they deserve. Teddy is always looking for the easy mark, someone to hustle. And Buddy, well, Buddy just wants the past, present and future to line up in a normal fashion. Each of these desires are so intricately connected and reliant on another member of the family, yet they all keep secrets from each other, thinking that this will keep everyone safe until the end. This book is very funny. Gregory finds the humor in everyday situations and delivers with such wit, you will find something to laugh at many time throughout. “”Eight-year-olds playing soccer, Teddy decided, was a lot like a pack of border collies chasing a single sheep, except that the dogs would’ve used more teamwork.” There’s just something so simple yet deeply hilarious about everyday observations like this, and they are sprinkled generously in this story. I really enjoyed the way Gregory gives us the idea of power. I know I’ve dreamed of being able to move things with my mind, or detect a lie, or even see the future. He gives us these amazing talents, but he also shows us that perhaps they aren’t as alluring as we might initially think. There are still struggles and heartbreak and heartache, even with these amazing abilities. Life, still requires a lot of work. Even though Buddy can see the future, he can’t see all the details so misunderstandings create false understandings. And, just because you can see the future, doesn’t mean it changes anything. “Everything he knows about the whirlpool of past and future tells him that the universe does not owe you anything and even if it did, it would never pay up.” Because of this, Buddy simply stops talking much at all, terrified of what he may inadvertently let slip. So when he begins tearing apart and completing random construction projects around the house without a word of explanation, its difficult for his family to understand. Yet, there are various moments when other family members think that if Buddy would only help them see the future, their decisions would be easier. Buddy seems to be the only one with the knowledge of how heavy and hard the future can be. Irene can detect when someone is lying. Even a small, harmless lie. So she doesn’t trust anyone. And can’t open herself up to intimate relationships. Hearing the lie, no matter how small, is sometimes more painful than not knowing it’s there at all. Frankie can move objects. Except, only sometimes, and never when he wants to, and never when it’s important. And then there’s Matty. Who can leave his body and see the world. Except, there’s a few embarrassing things that need to happen before he can actually do any of that. I absolutely loved the use of Teddy in the story. Teddy is always more than he seems, or exactly what he seems. A conman, a huckster, a fast talker. He knows how to work people and get what he wants. His sleight of hand is what makes him so good. So, we don’t expect Gregory to use the same tricks in his writing to make us look one way, when really he is leading us another. As the story unfolds, we are more and more confident of where the story is leading, yet when the pages are complete, it is exactly what we expected and at the same time, not at all what we expected. It’s a magic trick in plot. And it’s genius. I really like the way the story is developed. Using the memories of each character to help us learn the past, as well as each characters current point of view creates a lush, deep, and rich view of the entire family. We get a sense of who they are and more importantly, why they are the way they are. We also get to see pieces of the plot unfold, knowing the missteps being planted along the way, unknowingly by each family member. But, again, the real delight is watching these plans hatch and being just as surprised by the outcome as they are. It truly is masterful story telling. This is a quirky, fun, wonderful novel about family. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a funny, entertaining story! I loved it, and will revisit the Telemachus family in the future. Thank you so much First To Read, Penguin Random House and AA Knopf, for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

What an interesting read. Very different from anything I have read before. It was not an addicting book and I found myself putting it down frequently, but I always came back to it. It was unusual and creative. I found myself a bit confused for a while, but I enjoyed the characters and the story line and there were a few unseen twists and turns. The excitement really picked up in the last third of the book. If you can push through, its worth the read. Not an edge of your seat thriller, but a creative novel nonetheless.

A Penguin First to Read ARC e-book in exchange for an honest review. This book took me by surprise. The title didn't capture my interest, the synopsis was okay...but then I read the first chapter and was sucked in. This book really did have a little of everything and I am so happy that F2R sent it to me beyond the ones I had requested. I wouldn't call it "laugh out loud" but it was funny, witty and hits human nature right on the head.

Oh. My. God. This book. I love it. Thanks FTR for an advanced copy for my honest review. This book has magic, literally the writing is magic and it really is about a family with magical powers. I am a Harry Potter fan, needless to say I eat up magical realism like im starved. I don't know why the marketing blurb says laugh out loud funny book. It's a human story at its core about losing powers and coping with being normal. Humor quotient is low at best... But it's such an engaging book I was up couple of nights to read. 4 stars for the story and lively execution. Wow.

Thank you for the advance copy!

The beginning didn't hook me enough for me to even attempt to finish the book.

I really liked this book! I found every character to be very well developed and felt an emotional connection with each one. The premise was unique and fun. I enjoyed reading from the points of view of each character and I think the author did a great job of giving a personality to each character. The story was also well told. It may have been a tad long, but there wasn't much I would have suggested leaving out. I highly recommend reading this book!

The premise is brilliant. The execution, however, is not. This could have been a contender, if only an editor had taken a red pencil to the rambling segments that did nothing to advance the narrative. So much of the early parts had me falling asleep, only to find that things picked up considerably around page 130. Alas, the narrative wound its way back through the treacle and I have given up. There is much to like about the story, with a tale of grifters and psychically gifted, mixed in with loan sharks and mob bosses and CIA operatives. Wit and humour can be found, but it's just too much work to find the jewels and I lack the time, and patience, to continue.

I am in a dilemma with this book. I didn't love it but didn't hate it either. I felt that the story was too drawn out and it just didn't grab me. I am sure that there are readers out there that will find the story more to their liking.

I'll be honest...I didn't think I would like this book. But I ended up really enjoying it! The characters were very well-drawn, it was funny but also very poignant at times. I was surprised at how cohesive it was because it was told from numerous points of view and moved back and forth in time. But Gregory is a skilled writer and everything hung together pretty well. I enjoyed my time spent with the Telemachus family.

This was not my type of book as I don't really like reading about characters with super powers. I was not drawn in to the characters or plot and stopped reading it after 114 pages. I have loved all of the other books I have received from First To Read and hope to continue reading and reviewing future titles.

Unable to download. I have been trying since notified.I have tried downloading on my laptop through Adobe Digital Editions on my laptop (could not open 'URLLink.acsm' because I receive the error: Unable to download Error getting License. License Server Communication Problem: E_LIC_ALREADY_FULFILLED_BY_ANOTHER_USER). Sent email through contact us link but have yet to hear back. So I'm guessing I won't be able to read this title.

The premise of this book immediately grabbed my attention, and it didn't disappoint. I enjoyed that the family's story was told through five different points of view - flashing between past, present, and even future, showing how these seemingly amazing people ended up in their dead end lives. All of the character’s stories bent and weaved together throughout time, expertly pulling the tale together. There is great suspense - especially as Buddy's perspective and unique gift began to taunt and leave clues to the family's future. And while the psychic powers are interesting and exciting, what made Spoonbenders great, was the beautiful and relatable character building and the sense of humor seen in everyday things. For example, “She went upstairs and found the stack of mail that had accumulated over the past couple of days. There were five AOL CDs, each one promising 50 free hours! Well, she thought, if there was one thing she had, it was free hours.” I loved everything about this book - the story, the characters, the weird paranormal twist. It’s easy to simultaneously dislike and love almost every single person, and the weaving of past, present and future was fascinating and well done.

I loved this novel! The characters were very entertaining and witty. A little slow moving at first, however it pulled me in and I was fascinated. Mattie and Teddy were my favorite characters in this book although all of them had their own appeal. I really enjoyed the way Daryl Gregory made each chapter in the viewpoint of one of the main characters. I was hesitant at first when it would skip from one to another, but in the end the story really came together. I will definitely recommend this story to some of my other reading friends.

I was excited to read an advanced copy because of a high recommendation of Daryl Gregory from a friend. I found myself disappointed. It was an effort to move from chapter to chapter. Part of this is definitely Gregory's skill in painting hopelessness so thoroughly. The early chapters are heartbreaking and it was really hard for me to push forward. Changing perspectives from chapter to chapter can be a positive or negative thing for an author. It's definitely necessary in this novel because of the wide-reaching effects of the Mike Douglas incident, but at the same time, it makes it hard to bond with any of the characters. Not my favorite novel this year. Gregory is obviously a great talent, but maybe he was just a little too good at some of his description of lives of quiet desperation. The payoffs just couldn't lift me past the heartbreak.

I wasn't sure about this title - the first few chapters were slow going for me. But after I got into the flow of the storytelling I was hooked. Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of one of the central characters - all members of the same family, over three generations - and each explains things along a several-decades long time line. It sounds much more confusing than it is. Amidst the narration, we learn their personalities and abilities, as well as a history of the family. Dad is a bit of a con man / card shark. Mom was a true psychic. Their three children each have unique psychic abilities, as do the grandchildren. Again, sounds confusing, but it's not. The story line meanders and comes together in ways you don't expect. And the ending has a big surprise I certainly didn't see coming!

I didn't even request this one but apparently Penguin knows me better than I know myself because I LOVED IT!! Thank you, Penguin First to Read, for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. This book was so enjoyable and clever, I very much enjoyed it! Spoonbenders follows three generations of the Amazing Telemachus family. What's not to like about a family with various psychic abilities, a run-in with the mob, plus the usual lies, deceit, and crazy family relationships? I loved each of the characters in their own unique and (very) special ways, and I thought the author did a great job of describing and distinguishing each of their abilities. The pacing was wonderful, and it was one of those books where every chapter leaves you needing more. So ultimately, if you're looking for a fun, fast-moving read, make this your next go-to because this one is so worth it!!

I really enjoyed this book. I had no idea where this book was headed when I first started to read it, but soon found that I couldn't put it down. Usually I am not a fan of books that follow more than two or three narratives, but I had no trouble with this book following five family member (and I actually cared about what happened to all of them). Nothing in this story was what in seemed, and found myself constantly trying to guess what happened next, but happy that nothing was predictable. I more than likely wouldn't have tried to read this one if it wasn't offered, but I am so glad that I did!

Complex characters and multiple points of view made this otherwise boring story bearable. I frequently lost interest and had to skip back to pick up details. After needing to force myself to read I gave up halfway through.

This turned out to be a lovely surprise! I really had no idea what I was getting into, but I enjoyed this book immensely. Complex, quirky characters in a strange yet realistic (or is that realistic yet strange?) world. Well written and carefully crafted to weave multiple perspectives into a cohesive whole. Kept my attention from beginning to end.

Bottom line: I loved this book. I didn't expect to. It's not my "usual" fare. I didn't even remember requesting to review it (spooky, right, a novel about alleged "psychics" and it just appears in my review list? :-D) I had something else queued up that I really wanted to read, but I needed to "get this out of the way." And, instead, I found this to be a totally absorbing, quirky, funny, moving, very memorable story that reminded me not just a little of John Irving, maybe crossed a bit with Lisa Lutz. Set in Chicago, we meet the Telemachus family in "present day" 1990s as well as in flashbacks to the "glory" days of their traveling psychic act. Patriarch Teddy can read what is written through envelopes and folds of paper. Daughter Irene knows whether or not you are lying. Son Frankie can move things with his mind. And youngest son, Buddy, can see the future, including where the spinning wheel will stop. Mom, Maureen, could leave her body -- astral projection -- and see anything, anywhere, which helped her to "know" things about members of the audience. They are at the height of their fame in an appearance on the Mike Douglas show when everything goes horribly wrong, and they are denounced as frauds and, not long after, Maureen dies of cancer. Twenty-one years later, we see what their talents have wrought in them. Teddy is old, arthritic and can barely manage simple sleight-of-hand. Irene is bitter about almost everything except her teenage son, Mattie. Frankie has so much yet wants more and more and more. Buddy barely speaks, but works furiously on 'home improvement' projects that have no apparent purpose or end. Their past and future seem inextricably intertwined with those of a mercenary government agent who is dedicated to using psychic power as a weapon, as well as the local Mob. Can they find a happy ending? This is the kind of book that I will recommend to friends but I won't give away my copy, but will keep it in my own library for... later. This is a good one!

I would like to thank First to Read and Penguin books for the ARC of "Spoonbenders" by Daryl Gregory for my honest opinion and review. I appreciate the author's unique idea of combining fantasy and fiction. I found at this time I could only read 200 pages and felt that this book was not a good fit for me. I found that the characters were complex and complicated. At times it was confusing. I will try to attempt to read this book at another time.That being said, I feel that other people could enjoy this book.

I would like to give special thanks to Penguin First to Read for giving Spoonbenders to me to review as an ARC. This was a fantastic book that I wish I didn’t just have for a short period of time to review, but also to own and display on my bookshelf! Admittedly, I almost put this book down around halfway through. There definitely was a lag in the middle of the story where it seemed as though nothing important was really happening, things were getting confusing, and I was spacing out. But I am really glad that I stayed with this book! Everything that happens in Spoonbenders is important, and things that once seemed obscure as the book was developing itself will come together by the end of the story very nicely. But throughout the story, what really kept me interested in what was going on was the characters. You will both absolutely love and totally loathe pretty much all of the characters at some point or another during the story, and, above all, you will become attached to this story just so you can find out what’s going to happen to them! I won’t give away the ending (no, seriously, I actually won’t), but it’s got a lot of plot twists in it right when you think there could be nothing more going on in this story. I don’t think there needs to be a sequel to this book, but I would be happy to read one. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a literary story with some aspects of fantasy; this is perfect for you.

I enjoyed this book. It was a really good story. There are a lot of people in this book, and there are a lot of things going on. There are a lot of different story lines, but it isn't confusing. I enjoyed learning about this family. The father, Teddy, is quite a character. His family is unique. They have powers. His wife, Maureen, is very powerful. They have three children. Although they have powers, they still have regular life problems. It is a very interesting book. I couldn't wait to find out what happens next to their families. Where else can you read about psychic powers and the mob? I don't think anywhere else. It flows very well.

I read the first 190-something pages straight through without skipping perspectives, but after that I started skipping perspectives that didn't interest me. I'm not a fan of multiple perspectives in books, even though I do think it was executed well here. I did genuinely enjoy the first chunk that I read straight through, but then my mood shifted or something and I just lost interest in it. The book is written very well, from what I read, and it's funny and enjoyable, from the first bit I read, so I'm definitely going to give this book another go when my mood shifts again and I gain an interest in it. I would definitely still recommend this book, it's just that the stars are not aligned for me to finish it right now, and that's not the fault of the book.

It was one of the most hilarious books I've read in a while, I had fits of giggles throughout. I wouldn't normally choose this type of book for myself but it was offered and I accepted and boy am I glad I did, it was very entertaining.Teddy the patriarch and his deceased wife Maureen had their hands full with their crazy, gifted youngsters. All in all I liked the book and would definitely be open to reading another like in the future. But I must say the Telemachus family is dysfunctional at best of times. I would also like to apologize for the late post.

It's not my normal book and not sure if I would have read it if not given out to review. It was a slow start and wasn't sure about it at first, however once I got into it, it was a good quick read. Spoonbenders is a funny book about a dysfunctional family with powers. So glad I got the chance to read it.

I was instantly intrigued by the premise. I'm a sucker for any thing related to "sixth sense" clairvoyant and mysticism. Well I was definitely in luck with this book. Because is full all the things I love in a fictional novel. A fast, intriguing, heartwarming read for the the daydreamer in most of us. The author surpassed my expectations and provided more than enough twist and turns with and effortless fluidity that kept me anticipating more. This book allowed me to dive in and forget about whatever mundane task of a grueling work day. Escapism at its best.

This is definitely not my normal read but I have to admit, once I started it, I couldn't put it down! This book is quirky, hilarious, and really makes me adore my own wacky family so much more! This is worthy of high recommendations and hats off praises to the author!

I've been reading a lot of books with rotating narrators recently. The approach runs the risk of tantalizing a readership with a story that they actually care about, only to pull away and plop them in the middle of a story that they couldn't care less about. Spoonbenders walks a thin tightrope with this, although I think the novel manages to keep its balance. I didn't want to care about some of the characters, but the narrator was so sympathetic to each one that I didn't really have a choice in the end. Teddy, the psychic family's non-psychic patriarch, is an undeniable cradle-robber, but his earnest attempts to, well, scam his way into his late wife's heart are just so endearing. Frankie spends the entire book scheming and scheming and (pyramid) scheming his way into fortune, but his sense of betrayal at the hands of his own brother is bitter and understandable. The aspect of "time travel" in this novel was unexpected for me but I loved it. Buddy's narrative thread was my favorite overall, landing in this weird limbo-land between The Time Traveler's Wife and Slaughterhouse-Five. If you need a reason to read this book, Buddy Telemachus is the only one you need. Plus, this is a fun little read. Gregory spins each of his plates masterfully and chooses the perfect moment to bring them all crashing down together.

I was immediately attracted to the title (not going to lie, it totally made me think of that one scene in the Matrix), and the description sounded unique and interesting. Despite all this, I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this book, but in the end I am really happy I gave it a chance. Spoonbenders has a little bit of everything in it; family drama, magical abilities, mobsters, espionage, gambling, teenagers coming of age, time travel, and even a bit of romance (I think that’s everything? I feel like I missed something). It’s hard to believe all of that managed to get crammed into a book and still have it make sense, but somehow it all works. It took me a little while to settle into Spoonbenders, and I don’t mean that in a negative way, Daryl Gregory just has a writing style that leads to a natural buildup of the plot and character development. All the little details made the world and events feel that much more real and believable. Spoonbenders follows the life and adventures of the Telemachus family, all of whom are gifted in one way or another. But not gifted in the normal sense. They’re all psychic. Each family member has their own distinct ability, with only a couple exceptions (which become obvious as you read the book). I have to say that I was really surprised by the complexity of this novel; and how well written it was. Everything flowed naturally, and the character’s were interesting, if sometimes aggravating (but isn’t that always the way with family?). Teddy Telemachus was simultaneously my favorite and least favorite character. While he acts as a psychic, he’s actually just a con-man. I cannot even begin to describe just how funny I found that to be. He ends up marrying a true psychic, whom their children inherit abilities from. Teddy’s long term plot was probably the best for its humor value if nothing else. The reason I found his character hard to deal with was sometime he reminded me of Willy Loman, one of my least favorite characters in literary history (I’m not saying Death of a Salesman was bad, merely stating that I dislike the main character). Unlike Willy though, Teddy doesn’t ever seem to give up, and while he may not have been the best dad around (just ask Irene) he did at least do the best he could with what he had (even if nobody else agreed that it was actually the best). There’s a whole litany of supporting characters, being that the Telemachus family isn’t exactly small. There’s Teddy and Maureen (Maureen being deceased for a decent amount of the book, sadly), and then their kids, Irene, Frankie (as well as his wife), and Buddy, and then there’s grandchildren too, but Matty is the only one that the novel really focuses on. The family dynamics on the whole were pretty interesting to watch; who could rely on whom, which one of them was a trouble maker, how they handled getting around the living lie detector (aka Irene) and so on. The plot itself is fairly complex; with each character having their own plot going on simultaneously, and then eventually having them all weave together into one major plot and series of events. It was pretty brilliantly done, though I’ll admit I had to step back and take a couple of days to think about it all before I went and wrote my review. Complex stories do that to me; I love trying to put all the puzzle pieces together after the fact to see if they actually fit like we were told they did. In this case, I’m happy to say that all the pieces fit. It’s refreshing to see, and even more refreshing to read.

Spoonbenders is a must read for summer 2017. If you think your family is dysfunctional - check out the Telemachus family. Superpowers, federal agents, the mob, and an old fashioned cousin crush - it's quirky, wonderfully distasteful at times, heartbreaking at others.. Often backstory can slow down the flow of a novel, however - Gregory's fast-paced smooth writing allow for easy traditions between the past and present. Just buy a copy. You won't regret it.

Sorry, not my type of book. Couldn't get into it at all.

Good book! Took me a little to get into because of how it jumps around but once I did I was pulled in.

This book was a nice surprise, I enjoyed the quirky, crazy mixed up adventures of a psychic family. From the ultimate conman father and genuine remote viewer spy mom, the Telemachus family are shown through the years with their kids and grandkids with special powers. Their unique lifestyle and consequences of using and relying on their gifts takes a toll on the family. Heartbreaking at times and so entertaining with government men and the mafia thrown in.

I never would have picked this book up on my own, and I would have missed a true gen! This book about a dysfunctional family and their love for each other is funny, charming, and sometimes sad. It's a great story and hard to put down.


More to Explore

  • Pandemonium
  • Raising Stony Mayhall
  • The Devil's Alphabet

Copy the following link