Daryl Gregory - Spoonbenders - Quercus

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Spoonbenders

A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice 2017

By Daryl Gregory

  • Hardback
  • £14.99

Meet the Amazing Telemachus Family! - The BBC Radio 2 Book Club choice

*** The BBC Radio 2 Book Club choice ***
*** Bought for TV by Paramount ***

'Funny and charming . . . magical' New York Times Book Review
'Hilarious, freewheeling' Guardian
'Gloriously imaginative' Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney


They were the Amazing Telemachus Family, who in the mid-1970s achieved widespread fame for their magic and mind reading act. That is, until the magic decided to disappear one night, live on national television.

We encounter this long-forgotten family two decades on, when grandson Matty, born long after the public fall from grace, discovers powers in himself and realises his hugely deflated, heavily indebted family truly are amazing.

Spoonbenders is the legacy and legend of a dysfunctional, normal, entirely unique family across three generations of big personalities and socially inept recluses - each cursed with the potential of being something special.

Biographical Notes

Daryl Gregory grew up in Chicago and has lived in various other cities within a few miles of the continent-spanning highway, Interstate 80, including his current home, Oakland, California. He's been a high school teacher, a technical writer, and a programmer, and now writes full time, occasionally dabbling in comics and videogame scripts.

His short novel We Are All Completely Fine won the World Fantasy Award and the Shirley Jackson award, and was a finalist for the Nebula, Sturgeon, and Locus awards. The novel Afterparty was a National Public Radio and Kirkus Best Fiction book of the year. Spoonbenders is his first work of literary fiction.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781786482754
  • Publication date: 24 Aug 2017
  • Page count: 416
  • Imprint: riverrun
Gregory writes with humour and charm, offering up a rollicking and quick-paced plot tailor-made for summer. — Manuel Gonzales, New York Times Book Review
Daryl Gregory's Spoonbenders takes a madcap look at the US in the latter half of the 20th century through the dysfunctional but endearing Telemachus family . . . What follows is a hilarious, freewheeling caper involving Chicago gangsters and government secret agents, culminating in a satisfyingly bittersweet denouement. — Guardian
Laugh out loud. — Daily Telegraph
Sweet, inventive . . . from start to finish. — Mail on Sunday
The strength of this book is in its characters . . . The writing is effortlessly original and at times painfully insightful. Whatever you do, don't miss Spoonbenders. — Foyles Online
Pure escapism . . . crisp and frequently clever. — New York Times
A joyfully weird book about psychics and con artists, and the marvels that result from the intermarriage of the two. — Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky
Spoonbenders is brilliant. With the Telemachus clan, Daryl Gregory has created a family that is part J.D. Salinger and part David Foster Wallace. But the most impressive trick in the novel isn't how they read minds. Gregory's real gift is how he uses them to show the depths of the human heart. — Christopher Farnsworth, author of Killfile and Blood Oath
A big generational family story of longing, nostalgia and humor. The writing is so deftly charming and yet deeply felt. Spoonbenders is entertaining and moving - a perfect summer read. — Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
Did you spend a childhood convinced that you were *this close* to developing telekinetic powers? Me too! The supernatural may elude us still, but there is real magic in Daryl Gregory's gleeful story of the Amazing Telemachus Family. Spoonbenders is also about the power of belief and whether we can ever escape our tangled family legacies - and why we might not want to. — Jade Chang, bestselling author of The Wangs vs. the World
Imagine amazing powers - but do so with uncommon creativity, rigor, and humor. You might, if you're lucky, arrive at the delicious drama of the girl who can smell lies; the all-at-once-ness of the boy who can't not see the future; the great dilemma of the psychic pressed into service as a spy. Daryl Gregory's novel traces the line where gift balances against curse and by the end, we realize he isn't only talking about amazing powers after all. Spoonbenders is X-Files meets The Sopranos with a real, roaring heart. — Robin Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
This gloriously imaginative novel featuring a family of somewhat reluctant psychics has a nifty trick up its sleeve - as whimsical and eccentric as the Telemachus family is, their hopes and desires perfectly mirror our own. Spoonbenders is hilarious, heartfelt and brimming with humanity. — Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author of The Nest
Cleverly plotted and swiftly paced . . . Gregory's novel deploys a cast of odd, damaged, enormously likable characters . . . Readers will emerge from the fray sure they know each Telemachus down to the smudges on their hearts. — Kirkus
Utterly charming and effortlessly witty . . . this is a book that constantly surprises and blindsides you . . . the book is bursting with vibrant characters, nostalgic detail, cheeky cultural references and delightful twists. If Spoonbenders were a film it'd be a Wes Anderson remake of The Incredibles. — *****, SFX
A magnificently twisted collision of a book that reads like Michael Chabon or John Irving but plays out in your head like the cast of Arrested Development just hijacked The X-Files and the whole thing is directed by Wes Anderson. It touches your heart while frequently being laugh out loud funny . . . a riotous comic epic that really shouldn't work but somehow it is impossible not to fall in love with. . . A brilliant achievement. — 10/10, Starburst
A superbly entertaining novel . . . well-written, beautifully constructed. — British Fantasy Society
Daryl Gregory has written a novel as gripping as it is hilarious. The members of the Telemachus family may have powers beyond our own, but in telling their tale, Gregory reminds us of the bits of ordinary magic that are at the heart of every successful family. You will love this book. — Steven Rowley
A sprawling, quirky-smart saga. — Entertainment Weekly
Superbly engaging, balancing delightful wackiness with genuine tenderness throughout in a way reminiscent of Michael Chabon or Jonathan Lethem. — National Public Radio
Even though the action is never-ending, it's fun, and the engaging plot is supported by a clever structure. I stayed up late into the night reading chapter after chapter, pulled in by yet another fantastic line that either made me laugh or gasp in surprise . . . With characters like these, you're bound to love one, and I'd wager you'll end up loving them all. — Chicago Review of Books
Gregory's characters are brightly drawn, and he neatly captures the world of the early internet. But the real fun is in seeing how his intricately constructed puzzle comes together in the end. — Vox
A story about a family in freefall, one that manages not only to land on its feet, but to find those feet clad in elegant dancing shoes, ready to deliver a spin and final flourish as a prelude to a well-deserved fictional bow. — Tor
A celebration of family love and self-protection. — Chicago Tribune
Compassionate, heartfelt . . . A wonderful story about a weird family - but no weirder, really, than any other - and the love that binds them together, against all odds. — Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
[An] exhilarating, high-action drama . . . For a book that insists so consistently on differentiating true talent from clever tricks, Spoonbenders reveals an author gifted with more than his share of both. — Paste Magazine
A skillfully written family drama that employs quirk and magic with grace. — Austin Statesman
A surprising and engrossing novel. — Choice Magazine
Gregory seamlessly switches between different points of view, creating vivid voices for each Telemachus family member. — Publishers Weekly
Spoonbenders gallops . . . Gregory's characters are simply magical - in terms of both their abilities and their deeply recognizable humanity. — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A hilarious portrayal of family, schemes and a few superpowers thrown in along the way . . . The level of emotional detail at work is astounding, and Gregory's magic touch makes even their strangest moments relatable. These characters' gifts merge with a brisk pace and a subtle, often bittersweet sense of comedy to make Spoonbenders an intensely endearing read. The premise will hook you, the plot will entice you, and then the Telemachuses themselves will make you fall in love. — BookPage
Delightful . . . a poignant tale of a family teaming up to defeat the insurmountable odds stacked against it. — Straits Times (Singapore)
Spoonbenders is a great story and a lovely read. Daryl Gregory manages to bring both laughter and tears in this caper, which is part heist novel, part bildungsroman, and all family saga. I adored it. — A Fantastical Librarian
Heartwarming and hilarious . . . The greatest trick of all in Spoonbenders may be that it shows the inexplicable alchemy of family . . . Gregory takes the many narrative threads and weaves them together for his final revelation. — Radio Times
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