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 Thurm revisits favorite themes (death, interracial marriage, life in New York) in her characteristically lighthearted way in her fourth novel (The Way We Live Now, 1991, etc.), this featuring a Manhattan psychic who chats with ghosts and interferes compulsively with the lives of those he loves. Victor Mackenzie was eight years old when he saw his first ghost: that of Murray Weinbaum, recently deceased owner of the corner candy store, an ordinary fellow with whom the young boy had always felt a certain rapport. Murray's ghost acts as a guardian spirit, watching over Victor as he grows up clairvoyant to become a hip, high-priced, but very honorable psychic in trendy downtown Manhattan. Katha Randall, struggling New York artist and single mother, has no interest in psychics, but she hears such good things about Victor's sessions that she takes her best friend Lucy to see him on Lucy's birthday. After predicting rough waters in Lucy's apparently perfect marriage (Lucy, a black woman, is wed to Buddy Silverman, a successful white dentist), Victor falls in love with Katha despite the fact that her palm reveals that she's newly divorced and now living with another man. Soon Katha has started to love Victor back, and must struggle with the fact that she'll never know how much he's manipulating her life or how many of her secrets he's managed to intuit. Much unconvincing angst arises from this uncertainty (along with some minor meddling by Murray and other ghosts) before Victor's devotion to Katha, his obvious fondness for her daughter, and his good-natured efforts to save Lucy's marriage convince Katha that a psychic boyfriend with a heart of gold is (surprise!) better than a life of penury, loneliness, and regret. Like its protagonists, Thurm's latest is as brisk, charming, and good-natured as they come--but so slight that it leaves only a phantom aftertaste on the literary tongue.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-944072-72-0
Page count: 288pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1997


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