Thanks to everyone for all your postings—they were fascinating to read. I have to say that I agree with many of you on several key points: I was pretty confused throughout the first part since we were skipping around to various characters; I do wonder if George Orson is Hayden (and could he be Jay, too?); and why did the book start with Ryan’s hand if we don’t go back to that story line? Luckily, things are becoming (somewhat) less muddy in Part Two, so let’s jump right into the discussion.
Right away, we learn that Ryan is involved in something pretty serious with his uncle Jay. (We’ll assume that this is his real name for now.) He’s willing to completely abandon his previous life—so much so that when reports surface that he killed himself, he thinks that he’s going through the various stages of grief. Even though Ryan is flying all over the country in disguises and with stacks of plastic in other people’s names, I still don’t get how he could shed his old persona so easily. I feel like he should be fighting it more (which we do see his subconscious doing when he imagines seeing his old professor in the airport and he remembers his relationship with Pixie). I don’t really have a whole lot to say about Jay—I find him to be a completely unlikable character. I did get a very ominous feeling when we read about Jay meeting Mike Hayden (who is clearly Miles’ brother, Hayden) at the end of Part Two. But I dislike him so much that I kind of feel like he deserves whatever is coming. I have my guess, but I’d love to know what you’re thinking.
I’m still rooting for Lucy to untangle herself from George Orson. (Yes—it’s so bizarre that he’s always referred to by his full name!) There are so many red flags about him—the safe full of money, the new identities he procures, the fact that he doesn’t tell her his real name. I really could go on and on. I keep rooting for her because she is so smart (as one of you said), and she really has had a rough life. I just want something to go right for her, but she keeps focusing on all the riches that George seemingly has. She’s unable to see George for the deceitful person that he actually is, and I fear that this is going to lead her down a bad, and possibly life-threatening, road.
In this middle section of the book, we received a lot of Miles and Hayden’s backstory. Miles may not be mentally ill himself, but he’s allowed the mental illness of his brother to basically ruin his life. He doesn’t have any friends, and he’s never been able to hold down a steady job. He finally ends up back in his hometown, getting a job at a magician shop. Despite spending most of his adult life searching for his brother, Miles doesn’t have anything to show for it. Until he receives a phone call from Lydia Barrie, that is. She’s the sister of Rachel, Hayden’s fiancee when he was pretending to be Miles Spadey, a graduate student at the University of Missouri at Rolla. They both disappeared and Lydia has been searching for them ever since. Since no one in this novel seems to be who they say they are, I’m very skeptical if Lydia actually is Rachel’s sister. Did any of you have that thought cross your mind?
So we’re down to the last part of the book. Let’s finish it by next Friday, July 23. Until then, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all these characters are going to intersect.
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