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Indie Picks, Summer 2017

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By (author): Daryl Gregory
9780385689519 Hardcover English General Trade FICTION / Family Life / General Jun 27, 2017
$34.95 CAD
Active 6.68 x 9.51 x 1.41 in 416 pages Doubleday Canada Bond Street Books
A generations-spanning family of psychics—both blessed and burdened by their abilities—must use their powers to save themselves from the CIA, the local mafia and a skeptic hell-bent on discrediting them in this hilarious, tender, magical novel about the invisible forces that bind us.

The Telemachus family is known for performing inexplicable feats on talk shows and late-night television. Teddy, a master con-man, heads up a clan who possess gifts he only fakes: there’s Maureen, who can astral-project; Irene, the Human Lie Detector; Frankie, gifted with telekinesis; and Buddy, the clairvoyant. But when, one night, the magic fails to materialize, the family withdraws to Chicago where they live in shame for years. Until: as they find themselves facing a troika of threats (CIA, Mafia, an unrelenting skeptic), Matty, grandson of the family patriarch, discovers a bit of the old Telemachus magic in himself. Now, they must put past obstacles behind them and unite like never before. But will it be enough to bring The Amazing Telemachus Family back to its amazing life?

LITERARY MAGIC: What Michael Chabon did for superheroes in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Daryl Gregory does here for psychics and telekinetics. It’s funny, it’s smart, it’s touching.

MAJOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL: This is Daryl Gregory’s breakout novel. Dysfunctional family novels are still all the rage—see the success of The Nest. Yet, not since Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus has a novel been so poised to capture the imagination of so many readers. Written with utmost generosity and an enchanting touch, The Spoonbenders puts a new spin on timeless tropes.

ALL AGES: Gregory has written for adult and for young adult readers in the past, but never before has he written a book so well-suited to both. The Spoonbenders is the big literary event of the summer that teens and parents alike will devour. Readers of all ages will fall in love with the Telemachus family, whose members themselves span three decades. It’s the perfect literary novel for a generation that grew up with Harry Potter.

TV TIE-IN: The novel has been optioned by Paramount TV and will be executive produced by the team behind the Oscar-winning film Spotlight. Another of Gregory’s novels, We Are All Completely Fine, is currently being developed into a show for the SyFy channel.

TELEKINESIS IS HOT: With shows like Netflix’s huge hit Stranger Things, telekinesis is having a moment.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: The Spoonbenders is a family dramedy shot through with science fiction and elements of thrillers and coming-of-age stories. You’ve never read anything like this before. Also, it’s hilarious.

POWERFUL MATRIARCHS: Maureen and her daughter Irene emerge as two of the novel’s most dominant, attention-grabbing characters—strong women navigating the choppy waters of family and legacy.

BIG HEART: Underneath the narrative pyrotechnics is a tender story of a lovably dysfunctional family. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but most of all you’ll smile as you get to know the Telemachuses.

DARYL GREGORY is the author of Afterparty, The Devil’s Alphabet and other novels for adults and young readers. His novella We Are All Completely Fine won the World Fantasy Award and the Shirley Jackson Award. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania.

Author Residence: State College, PA

Author Hometown: Chicago, IL

Marketing: Galleys

Social Media Promotion

Publicity: Author Tour

National Media Attention

National Review Mailing

Author Website:

Author Social Media: Twitter: @darylwriterguy

“What Gregory accomplishes in his seventh novel is both magic and magic trick. [He] writes with humour and charm, offering up a rollicking and quick-paced plot tailor-made for summer.” —The New York Times

“Unexpected, thrilling and curiously moving…. It all builds to a climax that is a marvel of clockwork complexity, akin to watching a master magician at work.” —Toronto Star
“[Daryl Gregory] captures the vertiginous ups and downs of one family in ways that are entertaining, warmly humorous and surprisingly touching—all frequently on the same page…. Gregory is a whiz with plot mechanics, but his novel’s real accomplishment is in the depiction of the family dynamic…. Getting choked up or misty-eyed may not be the first expectation a reader will have while following a wacky band of ’psionics’ fighting for survival, but it may happen. Be prepared.” —Maclean’s

“A hilarious, freewheeling caper culminating in a satisfyingly bittersweet denouement.” —The Guardian (UK)

“[Spoonbenders] deploys a cast of odd, damaged, enormously likable characters in a complex story that gracefully balances the outrageous melodrama of Chicago mobsters and shadowy government agencies with the ordinary mysteries of family dynamics. Each of the characters, even when absurdly cartoonish, has a precise energy and depth that makes him or her irresistible. . . . A skillfully written family drama that employs quirk and magic with grace.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“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

“[Daryl] Gregory makes excellent use of the comic potential of hapless superpowers and sets up some intriguing mysteries, but mostly the novel is a celebration of family love and self-protection.” —Chicago Tribune
“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

“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, bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus
“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

“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

“Superbly engaging, balancing delightful wackiness with genuine tenderness throughout in a way reminiscent of Michael Chabon or Jonathan Lethem.” —NPR 

“Like all of Gregory’s books, [Spoonbenders is] completely different and hard to describe, but definitely worth the read.” Joe DeRouen, author of Small Things and Memories of a Ghost

“Delightfully good-humoured…. [Gregory] pulls the whole thing off with the unflustered charm of a stage magician…. A delightfully hectic comedy that slides, in a careful simulation of chaos, towards an impeccably twisty slapstick conclusion.” —The Spectator (UK)

“Exactly what you want to have under your arm as a long and lazy summer unfolds…. 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

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