Departure Lounge

Overview

"Entropy noir. . . . The hypnotic pull lies in the zigzag dance of its forlorn characters, casting a murky, uneasy sense of doom."??The Guardian

A young woman mysteriously disappears. The lives of those she has left behind??family, acquaintances and strangers intrigued by her disappearance??intersect to form a captivating latticework of odd coincidences and surprising twists of fate. Urban noir at its stylish and intelligent best.

Chad Taylor ...

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Overview

"Entropy noir. . . . The hypnotic pull lies in the zigzag dance of its forlorn characters, casting a murky, uneasy sense of doom."——The Guardian

A young woman mysteriously disappears. The lives of those she has left behind——family, acquaintances and strangers intrigued by her disappearance——intersect to form a captivating latticework of odd coincidences and surprising twists of fate. Urban noir at its stylish and intelligent best.

Chad Taylor lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of one collection of short stories and four previous novels. His second novel, Heaven, was made into a feature film by Miramax.

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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Yardley
What matters, though, is that Taylor can flat-out write. His style owes a lot to Raymond Chandler and lesser apostles of noir, but at the same time it's very much his own. His prose is spare but with a strong undercurrent of emotion; "cool" certainly is the word for him, but there's a good deal of heat beneath. Thus for much of its course Departure Lounge appears to be the story of a hip, nonchalant, resourceful criminal named Mark William Chamberlain who deftly breaks into houses and apartments, but gradually a deeper and darker story emerges: that of a girl, Caroline May, who disappeared more than 20 years ago, when she was in high school.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
This enigmatic noir thriller from New Zealand author Taylor (Heaven) opens on a friendly pool game between disarming narrator Mark Chamberlain and property developer Rory Jones at an Auckland billiards parlor. After the two men part company, Chamberlain admits, "the following night I broke into his apartment and stole everything that wasn't nailed down." Chamberlain, we learn, is a professional burglar. In the apartment, to his surprise, he discovers that Jones is the father of Caroline May, a high school classmate who disappeared many years earlier. Taylor brilliantly interweaves clues concerning Caroline's disappearance, including some implicating Chamberlain himself, with the thief's insightful reflections on appearance and reality. The narrator's secret criminal life comes under threat of exposure after someone slips an old poster seeking information about Caroline into his apartment. Taylor, who compares favorably with Russell Banks and Paul Auster, should appeal to readers who appreciate sophisticated plots and fully human characters. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The case of a missing girl ripples through her former friends' lives decades after her disappearance in Taylor's (Shirker, 2000, etc.) well-crafted but oddly hollow novel. Teenaged Caroline May disappeared from her Auckland home on a Sunday afternoon in 1979. Twenty years later, a number of her one-time classmates have yet to wholly get over it. Foremost among them is Mark Chamberlain, now a petty burglar and almost pathological loner. He lives in an apartment stacked high with stolen goods, leaving it at night to break into the homes of his Auckland neighbors, taking their things and examining them as artifacts of the city's lives. Little surprise, then, that this sort of activity would bring him back into contact with detective Harry Bishop, the lead investigator, two decades before, of Caroline May's disappearance. Neither has been able to move beyond the tragedy; both are still afflicted by the loss, haunted by their memories of missing posters, by the sightings, the rumors, the legends that have arisen in the girl's absence. They are men defined by their emptiness, an emptiness that sits at the book's core. Though only briefly present, May is the novel's silent center-the void Taylor's characters all find themselves orbiting. It's a deftly constructed work and very coolly done, but sometimes the cool turns frigid. As Chamberlain skulks about the city, visiting his old classmates, revisiting the incident, slipping in and out of homes and lives, he seems all smooth surfaces and guarded nonchalance-a cipher. And the same might be said of the book itself. There's a certain competence and slickness here that's undeniably appealing, but ultimately, the unrelenting chill makes for anunaffecting read. Not particularly memorable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933372099
  • Publisher: Europa Editions, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/15/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Chad Taylor lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of one collection of short stories and four previous novels. His second novel, Heaven, was made into a feature film by Miramax. His third and fourth, Shirker and Electric, have been translated into many languages.
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