The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick has a catchy title. Serendipity or coincidences are always fascinating and in this book Quick works with Jung’s Synchronicity as it relates to the main character, Bartholomew Neil. The characters in this book display a degree of mental disorder. Classmates call Bart a retard when he was in school and by the little angry man in his stomach. But he is not a retard, far from it. In his grieving for his recently dead mother with whom he lived for his thirty-nine years, his Catholic priest, Father McNamee, who is bipolar, defrocks himself at mass and walks out. He appears on Bart’s door and moves in. Bart’s therapist, a local college student, is helping Bart join age appropriate friends. She is also damaged as the bruises on her eventually have the empathic Bart shock her about what he knows is happening and by whom, her boyfriend, Adam, a doctor. How does he know this? Mr. Richard Gere whispered it into his ear. Bart found a note from Richard Gere in his mom’s underwear drawer when he was cleaning up her stuff. He took it as an omen and started writing Mr. Richard Gere letters. So now Gere whispers in his ear like the good angel and the angry man in his stomach confounds Bart. After the Father and Bart confront Adam, Wendy moves in with them following another beating from Adam. Bart’s goal is to ask the Girlbrarian out for a drink in a bar. The Girlbrarian works in a library and Bart doesn’t know her name, is also damaged as we learn from her brother Max who is the other person in Bart’s group therapy sessions.
I feel as if I have stepped into the town of Marville, in the movie, The King of Hearts, or the ward of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest or down the rabbit hole with Alice.
Bart spends a lot of time in the library reading and doing research. Since he became obsessed with Gere he has researched him and become familiar with the Dalai Lama and much of his writings. Bart is using the Dalai Lama to combat other rages and fears as he becomes more empathic, especially with his new houseguests. Bart, Father, Max, and Elizabeth drive to Montreal to find Bart’s father and then plan to drive to Ottawa so Max can see Cat Parliament, a place where feral cats roam free. This is a pilgrimage, a journey where many answers are given, koans are made, and goals are achieved. In spite of all their troubles, they find a way to find the good luck of right now.