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Chest Pains: A Novel

Chest Pains: A Novel

by Janet Nichols Lynch

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.)

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Library Journal

In this promising, lighthearted first adult novel (Lynch has written several YA titles), a community college music professor finds himself in the throes of a serious midlife crisis. At the beginning, unmarried and childless Gordon Clay is a defeated man, living alone with his cats and experiencing stress-related chest pains. Among his many worries are a nonexistent love life, disinterested students, and unrealized ambitions as a classical musician. What he feels most keenly, though, is the absence of children and deep regret about not starting a family. By the end of the novel, Clay's crisis is resolved, and he finds himself happily caring for the young son of a former lover. Although Lynch relies a little too heavily on coincidence and expedience (Clay falls in love very quickly, and some plot developments seem improbable), there is nonetheless a good deal here that is noteworthy. The characters are capably rendered, and many scenes are memorable. Recommended for libraries with large modern fiction collections.
—Patrick Sullivan

Product Details

Bridgeworks - Warren Phillips
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

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