In Edwards’ debut novel, a quartet of bohemians encounters obstacles to their blissful life.
Four high school friends are on the cusp of graduating from Somerset School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the late 1960s. These young men—Allie Reed, Michael Moller, Joey Liptisch, and Tate Henry—aren’t run-of-the-mill seniors, however; they’re self-appointed Keepers of the Get, an ongoing process of joking subversion at the school. The Get is “a combination of comedy-based social reform and artistic expression” and a “practical joke par excellence.” To these four, the Get is “the wink at the world’s end,” and they naturally wonder if the adult world they’re facing has any use for it. Edwards heightens the implicit tension of such a transition by framing the bulk of his novel a quarter-century in the future, when Tate, Allie, and Michael are traveling back to Somerset for their first meeting in 20 years. The occasion is the retirement of their former mentor—the school’s longtime chaplain, Father David Miles—but Edwards also makes the reader aware that there's a mystery involving the fate of the fourth Get-keeper, Joey: “We’re on the edge of a cliff,” Joey had observed when they were graduating. “Our world’s caving in on us, burning to the ground.” Edwards skillfully constructs his story within a story to leave readers wondering how prophetic such sentiments were. The atmosphere in these pages is picaresque, and the prose can be florid. However, the descriptions can also be evocative: “He looked like some sort of French prince come to modern times—royalty and intelligence framed with a certain disheveled look.” The fate of Tate’s comatose father, the former mayor of Tulsa, adds a wrinkle to an already charged plot.
A gripping, bighearted novel about four merry pranksters confronting their past.