The Good Luck of Right Now: A Novel

The Good Luck of Right Now: A Novel

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by Matthew Quick

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From Matthew Quick, the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook, comes The Good Luck of Right Now, a funny and tender story about family, friendship, grief, acceptance, and Richard Gere—an entertaining and inspiring tale that will leave you pondering the rhythms of the universe and marveling at the power of


From Matthew Quick, the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook, comes The Good Luck of Right Now, a funny and tender story about family, friendship, grief, acceptance, and Richard Gere—an entertaining and inspiring tale that will leave you pondering the rhythms of the universe and marveling at the power of kindness and love.

For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday mass, and the library learn how to fly?

Bartholomew thinks he’s found a clue when he discovers a “Free Tibet” letter from Richard Gere hidden in his mother’s underwear drawer. In her final days, mom called him Richard—there must be a cosmic connection. Believing that the actor is meant to help him, Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life, writing Richard Gere a series of highly intimate letters. Jung and the Dalai Lama, philosophy and faith, alien abduction and cat telepathy, the Catholic Church and the mystery of women are all explored in his soul-baring epistles. But mostly the letters reveal one man’s heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own.

A struggling priest, a “Girlbrarian,” her feline-loving, foul-mouthed brother, and the spirit of Richard Gere join the quest to help Bartholomew. In a rented Ford Focus, they travel to Canada to see the cat Parliament and find his biological father . . . and discover so much more.

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
“Winningly madcap.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“Quirky, compelling….Reads rather like A Confederacy of Dunces removed 1,200 miles northeast. As with that novel, it’s impossible to come away unamused by The Good Luck of Rights Now’s kindhearted presentation of the misadventures of a damaged soul.”
USA Today
“It’s impossible not to love each of these deeply flawed characters….As funny as it is touching, Quick’s latest effort is on par with Silver Linings.”
“Quick, the author of The Silver Linings Playbook, provides another offbeat gem populated with eccentric, fallible, intensely human characters….Humor, pathos, and quirky bends in the road define they odyssey, making it increasingly clear that it is all about the journey, not the destination.”
Boston Globe
“A page turner...Easy to read but difficult to characterize. Part fairy tale and part vision quest…[it] could more aptly be called an adult-onset bildungsroman….Quick, a master scene-setter, details Neil’s personal tragedy in prose that is simultaneously funny and devastating.”
Financial Times
“Not just a postbag of whimsical letters; it’s also a bildungsroman….A tender tale that manages to be both light-hearted and philosophical.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Life-affirming….Begins as a character study and morphs into a road novel, blending humorous set pieces-pack a Canadian hotel with UFO abductees and there’s bound to be fun-with poignant revelations about the novel’s main characters. It’s an unabashed tear-jerker.”
“A knockout of a book that has something for everyone: humor, wisdom, plot twists, wholly original characters and Richard Gere.”
Boston Herald
“Grade: A. Picking up a Matthew Quick novel is a lot like going to your favorite restaurant. You just know it is going to be good.”
Columbus Dispatch
“Often funny, with humor that arises naturally from Bartholomew’s deadpan, literal view of the world….It’s easy to wish the best for Bartholomew.”
Nashville Tennessean
“Often marked as ‘crazy’ by those around them, [Quick’s] oddball protagonists…say out loud-and act upon-thoughts many of us have had, if perhaps kept inside….[With] The Good Luck of Right Now, Quick has done it again.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Mr. Quick ventures to the edges of society,...He rewards us with an irresistible urge to think the best of humanity, to understand not only the need to walk in someone else’s shoes but also the altruistic power attained from doing so.”
Nashville Scene
“A gentle, wise, poignant and funny story about the nature of reality and the daily strength required of the brokenhearted to live in it. Quick makes no misstep; each scene, each character, each storyline is perfectly realized and seamlessly woven into the narrative….A delight from beginning to end.”
Graeme Simsion
“Original, compelling, uplifting. Quick celebrates the power of ordinary, flawed human beings to rescue themselves and each other. His writing is shot through with wit and humanity and an ultimately optimistic view of people, without ever becoming sentimental.”
Wally Lamb
“Everything I relish in a story: a flawed but sympathetic protagonist, a page-turning plot, and a cast of emotionally scarred characters for whom I rooted wholeheartedly. I loved this novel from its quirky and unconventional opening to its poignant, tear-inducing conclusion.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Quick returns to his offbeat, optimistic view of the world as only he can….an endearing celebration of the human spirit….Fans of bestselling author Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook and its Academy Award-winning film adaptation will not be disappointed.”
Nylon Magazine
“A deeply nuanced portrait of an unconventional family unit, friendships of necessity, and life’s give and take.”
Burlington Times-News
The Good Luck of Right Now will inspire and entertain with the power of kindness, love and even the universe….a very enjoyable read for me, so much so that I delayed reading the final chapters not wanting it to end.”
Garth Stein
“Funny, touching, wise, and ultimately life-affirming, THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW is quite possibly the greatest feel-good misfit-road story I’ve had the good luck to read. If you loved THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, this book is for you.”
Marilyn Dahl
“Friendship, family, connection and discovery intertwine in a marvelous way in this appealing novel. … In refusing to be defeated by pessimism, Pat learns about true silver linings, not pretty happy endings.”
People (Three Stars)
“A gratifying romp….Fans of The Silver Linings Playbook know Quick’s penchant for emotionally troubled, big-hearted characters, and Good Luck will satisfy those readers and new ones alike.”
Barry Hardymon
“Pat is a fearless narrator; even his most outlandish delusions are so candidly expressed that the reader teeters between fear of heartbreak and the hope that Pat might actually yearn his way into happiness. It’s a charmingly nerve-wracking combination…The book is cinematic, but the writing still shimmers.”
People on The Silver Linings Playbook
“A plucky debut novel…Quick fills the pages with so much absurd wit and true feeling that it’s impossible not to cheer for his unlikely hero.”
Philadelphia Inquirer on The Silver Linings Playbook
“I found him [Pat Peoples] compelling and fascinating, and I found myself not only caring about him but rooting for him unashamedly, which, for an author is, I believe, what they mean by scoring a tour de force.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer on The Silver Linings Playbook
“Tender, appealing…funny and satisfying.”
"The 8 Books You Need to Know This Month"
“This book channels the same screwball sad sweetness we loved so much in Silver Linings.”
Publishers Weekly
The newest from The Silver Linings Playbook author Quick is a quirky coming-of-age story about an earnest, guileless 38-year-old man with a dyspeptic stomach. After caring for his mother until her death, Bartholomew Neil begins adding to his writing repertoire—he already keeps an "Interesting Things I Have Learned" notebook—penning letters to Richard Gere when he discovers a "free Tibet" letter from Gere, his mom's favorite actor, among her things. Told by his grief counselor that Bartholomew should find his flock, he believes coincidence is at play and begins recounting stories from his life to the actor, and soliciting advice as well. Bartholomew's plan starts small: he wants to have a drink in a bar with a buddy and go on a date with a girl—hopefully the "girlbrarian" at the library where he spends most days reading books about Jung or the Dalai Lama. His motley flock slowly takes form, including the bipolar priest he's known his whole life, a foulmouthed paranoid grieving for his dead cat, and the paranoid's depressed sister, who just so happens to be the girlbrarian. Quick writes with an engaging intimacy, capturing his narrator's innocence and off-kilter philosophy, and the damaged souls in orbit around him. (Feb.)
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Tender, appealing…funny and satisfying.”
“A plucky debut novel…Quick fills the pages with so much absurd wit and true feeling that it’s impossible not to cheer for his unlikely hero.”
Library Journal
“[Quick] has a rare skill in portraying characters with mental illness, which, when coupled with his deft hand at humor, produces compelling and important prose….fans of Wally Lamb, Mark Haddon, or Winston Groom will appreciate.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Quirky, feel-good fiction….A whimsical, clever narrative.”
Kirkus Reviews on The Silver Linings Playbook
“Matthew Quick has created quite the heartbreaker of a novel in The Silver Linings Playbook.”
Publishers Weekly on The Silver Linings Playbook
“Endearing…touching and funny.… Pat [Peoples] is as sweet as a puppy, and his offbeat story has all the markings of a crowd-pleaser.”
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-12-09
Quirky, feel-good fiction from the author of The Silver Linings Playbook (2008). Bartholomew Neil describes himself as having above-average intelligence, though it's clear his intelligence is unconventional and idiosyncratic. Neil tells his story in a series of letters he writes to Richard Gere, a figure much admired by Neil's mother. The novel opens with her death, a great loss for Bartholomew, who has lived with her for 38 years. Now he's bereft and alone, relying on the ministrations of Wendy, his grief counselor, and Father McNamee, a priest at the church Bartholomew has faithfully attended for his entire life. Although at first it's not quite clear what his motivation is, McNamee abruptly "defrocks himself" to help take care of Bartholomew. In addition to caring for Bartholomew, he spends much time praying but also drinking a daily bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey, and by the end of the novel, it becomes clear that McNamee has much to atone for. Bartholomew is something of a holy innocent. He becomes enamored with the "Girlbrarian," a woman he falls platonically in love with at the library he haunts. Through synchronicity (a key concept in the novel), it turns out the Girlbrarian, Elizabeth, has a brother, Max, going through grief counseling for his cat, Alice. Max, who can't get through a single sentence without using the f-word, links up with Bartholomew through Wendy, and the novel switches to a road trip to Canada, where Bartholomew can supposedly discover a father he has long thought dead and Max can visit the "Cat Parliament" in Ottawa. A whimsical, clever narrative.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Oscar-winning film, and The Good Luck of Right Now. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention. Q lives with his wife, the novelist-pianist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

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The Good Luck of Right Now 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
L875 More than 1 year ago
Five is just not enough stars. This book made me decide that I will read everything this author writes. I loved it. It is written in the form of letters to Richard Gere and I didn't really know what to make of it at first. The best way I can explain it is that the book asks why some people live glossy, beautiful lives and some people live lives where horror is an every day or at least frequent visitor. Through the letters, Bartholomew is reaching from his end of the spectrum to the other side. Are the kindnesses and grand gestures of celebrities any different than the kindnesses and grand gestures of the uncelebrated? This book shows that yes, of course they are. Matthew Quick has a special sensitivity for the mentally ill and the misfits of the world. He had it in Silver Linings Playbook and he has it here too. I love that. I work in a library so I appreciated the library references and he has a great sense of humor. Loved the "default platitude" of the grief counselor as Bartholomew described it. It's a small thing but you'll have to read it to find it. Awesome book. I have to thank Goodreads for the early copy of this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw some mixed reviews about this book but I loved it. All of the quirky characters trying to search for meaning in their difficult lives. You trully care about them and their happiness.
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
I should have written Richard Gere more letters. Heck, I should have written him one letter. One long diatribe where I offered up all of my feelings and emotions, thoughts on the Chinese government and Tibet, and all the women who have entered my life and then exited en masse, telling my story in a series of letters over a period of months or maybe it was years (I forgot), but if my source of inspiration for writing said letters is rifling through my mom’s underwear drawer, I’m glad I completely missed that memo. If you like quirky characters that have a penchant for four-letter words, a woman who may be emotionally available through the aid of multiple therapy sessions, and a man who at thirty-eight years of age has no idea how to live without his mother, then sister have I got the story for you. You may want to sit down for this one, and read it while under the influence of prescription medication, otherwise you might smile at inopportune moments, like your neighbor’s funeral, or the sendoff of your favorite goldfish. If Matthew Quick in any way resembles his characters, then he has more than a few quirks, and from my previous experience with playing in my own sandbox, there’s nothing wrong with a few idiosyncrasies. In fact, life hands you a Benjamin Franklin every time you come up with wonderfully original ones. If you don’t believe me, just ask Bartholomew Neil, or maybe you’re better off speaking with Matthew Quick. Either way, just make sure you wash your hands first. THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW had me galloping toward the finish with my hands up in the air. Without too much effort, I can safely say my enjoyment reached both hands, and then my brain, as I waited with bated breath for what I might discover within the confines of the next letter. If I were to dangle out on a limb in the middle of a windstorm, I might even call it inspiring. But that’s the kind of deduction you should make on your own, while not under the influence of prescription medication. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
BobWard More than 1 year ago
I picked this book because I loved Silver Linings, both the book AND the film, and Quick wrote both books. So, is Good Luck as good as Silver Linings? Very close. It has characters who are dysfunctional, but are lovable and have depth; starting in low places but with an upbeat trajectory. An interesting premise as the protagonist writes a collection of letters (diary-style) to actor Richard Gere. It is being made into a film and I DO hope they have Mr. Gere do a cameo after the credits. He is not in the book. Yes, the book is well worth reading.
jdLA More than 1 year ago
Great book. Interesting concept and well done. I loved Silver Linings Playbook and this was even better. Very enjoyable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
funny and entertaining
Jayvee_27Misfit More than 1 year ago
A story of a man writing letters to Richard Gere? Interesting indeed. At first, I couldn't help but get confused why exactly would Bartholomew Neil want to write to Richard Gere? Maybe this thought lasted for just the first page. I got the idea that it was his form of coping up, something that no one would understand. Richard Gere, in this novel, seems very approachable, even in the thoughts of one man The novel is heart-warming. Queer and heart-warming. Each character is built up on struggle. Never did the story focused on Bartholomew and his ways of dealing with the world without his mother, but also of the people surrounding him; those he interacts with and those he actually cares about. People might think that patching things such as character build-ups are easy, but with this novel, it just shows how easy the flow of interactions are between the characters. What I love about the characterizations most of all was the pain they all suffered, though in different forms. I am such a sucker for psychologically injured characters. Somehow like his characters in Silver Linings Playbook, all suffering from something around psychological to emotional trauma, Matthew Quick digs deep into this kind of subject matter, though I've only quite witnessed it with these two novels. I have the rest of his novels and have yet to start with them. The consequences of school and book blogging. I will try my hardest. Anyway, back to the topic, The Good Luck of Right Now is an interesting book that not only touches the subject on relationships but also how philosophies from those in the Buddhist teachings and even from Bartholomew's mom, shape his character. The Good Luck of Right Now, as a mantra, is something that I might carry with me until I die. It's simple, not complex with the additions of books on Philosophy and whatnot. Just a simple, humble teaching that states, (in my own words), If bad things happen to you, someone out there receives the wonderful blessing that you didn't get in that exact moment. You might have gotten robbed but somewhere in the streets of Haiti, relief goods are being shipped to hungry children, that sort of thing. Though at first, I was quite skeptical about it. I mean, I guess the reason it's called The Good Luck of Right Now, is that, it is never for you to take in that very moment and that it is never meant for the person who understands. I don't know. That's how I clearly understood it. I guess, perspectives towards this book will play a major role on what exactly others would think of it. As I stated, characters are bizarre, queer and out of it. Aliens? Yes. You may encounter some at this book. Characters like Max, The Girlbrarian and of course, sweet old Father McNamee, Matthew Quick's writing style is easy on the eyes, not hard to comprehend though you might be taken into a certain scenario into another like a whirlwind. That, I wasn't really a fan of. But nonetheless, this is a fascinating book to read, with surprises and interesting plot lines and as I've said, characters that you will all love. I sincerely recommend this book for those who wish to read an odd, light read. It is perfect to be read on a lazy afternoon. I also think that Young Adult novel fans should read this as well. It can give a lot of grounds to think of different writers' perspective on things.I seriously suggest you don't limit your scope on YA... Just suggesting Misfit Booknerds. Anyway, much love to Matthew Quick and his new novel! I hope you guys can check it out! 
Twink More than 1 year ago
Matthew Quick's last novel The Silver Linings Playbook was turned into an award winning movie. His newest book The Good Luck of Right Now gives us another wounded protagonist to root for. Bartholomew Neil is nearing forty when his mother dies from cancer. Having never held a job, lived on his own and with no friends, he is unsure of what to do next. He starts to puzzle things out in letters written to actor Richard Gere. (Mom's favourite) These missives are heartbreaking in their honesty. " I get sidetracked easily by interesting things, and for this reason, people often find it hard to converse with me, which is why I don't talk very much to strangers and much prefer writing letters, in which there is room to record everything, unlike real-life conversations where you have to fight and fight to fit in your words and almost always lose." Bartholomew and his mother were faithful church goers and he does find some solace from parish priest Father McNamee. But he's not too sure about his grief counsellor Wendy, although they do set a life goal for Bartholomew - to have a drink with a friend in a bar. What Bartholomew would really like to do is meet the Girlbrarian at the library he frequents every day. Bartholomew is a great believer of Synchronicity by Carl Jung. Some might call it coincidence or destiny. Bartholomew's mother had her own twist on it - "For every bad thing that happens, a good thing happens too - and this was how the world stayed in harmony." Whatever way you choose to look at it - Bartholomew's life seems to be full of coincidences that may help him find his place in the world. Quick has written another great book full of decidedly quirky characters and odd situations. I'm not sure why, but I am drawn to characters that are outside of the mainstream view of life. Their struggle to fit in and find a place for themselves. Most of all, it is their optimism, their steady one foot in front of the other, their acceptance of everyone that appeals to me. Bartholomew embodies all that. As he says..."Well, if there weren't weird, strange and unusual people who did weird things or nothing at all, there couldn't be normal people who do normal useful things, right?" The Good Luck of right now is an unusual narrative told from a decidedly different character - one that you shouldn't spend too much time analyzing or trying to fit into a mold. The situations and connections are just as different - but who's to say they couldn't happen? Just go with it - and see where Bartholomew ends up. I quite enjoyed The Good Luck of Right Now - maybe it was meant to land in my mailbox?! (PS There's one scene in the library involving a patron viewing questionable material - I was laughing out loud. As a employee of a public library, I can tell that Quick did not exaggerate this scene!)
Anonymous 4 months ago
Loved it - weird, puzzling and curious and then in retrospect, spiritual, loving and so believable.
me2nc More than 1 year ago
Quirky. That's the best word I can come up with for this book. It's definitely different, not your typical read, which is what kept me going. It was refreshing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very hard to follow at first. Once it got further in it got interesting and ended.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was written from an interesting perspective (letters to Richard Gere) and included lists of character insight as well as historical/current perspectives on Tibet/China.  That being said, I thought it was too predictable uncovering Bartholemew's biological father and was not at all appreciative of Max's expletives.  I thought it took away too much from the story when I skipped over so much of his character' s dialogue due to the repetitious "f..." words. Tonight Silver Linings  was so, so much better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An unusual story and point of view, but somewhat repetetive and meandering. Not a bad read.
JustLight More than 1 year ago
Loved this novel! The narrative is through the eyes of a "special" individual dealing with the loss of his mother who he's always been devoted to and lived with. Through a process of synchronicity, he meets various individuals who all play an intrinsic role in his growing and healing. A delightful read with surprises and some playoffs. I've spent 20 times what I paid for this novel, and some of my reads were not so near entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bad book
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Loved it. Fell in love with the "fat, bald, ugly" hero. :)
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