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This first adult novel from short story writer and YA novelist Lynch explores the midlife crisis of a lonely, stagnant California community college music professor, Gordon Clay. The improbable plot begins with a Paul Auster-like coincidence: a late-night phone call from a woman with the same name as his ex, wanting to know if Gordon has her son-apparently, this is a different Carrie looking for a different Gordon Clay. Afterward, Gordon is left to wonder at the fate of the missing boy, the synonymous couple and his nagging chest pains. Gordon's meandering journey of spiritual and self-discovery leads to unlikely confrontations with one-dimensional, largely unlikable (and occasionally hateful) characters like tone-deaf music student Sister Cecilia and Polynesian single mom Mikilauni Kukula. Frequent digressions on music and religion make a welcome break-Lynch knows her subjects-but in the end, the mundane plot and its contrived resolution will test readers' patience far more than it does poor Gordon's heart. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.