The ad is in The Voice.Thus begins The Companion, Irish writer Lorcan Roche's novel about an Irish man living in New York City who answers an ad to care for a slowly dying, disabled young man named Ed. Roche tells the story in Trevor's lively first-person Irish argot and tells it with elan. Trevor is troubled himself, with a difficult backstory we don't fully learn until just near the end. His parents kept secrets from him, and he himself didn't quite fit in with his brilliant sisters and their posh beaux. He works as a companion because taking care of the disabled is what he knows how to do, and he's good at it. He forges a good relationship with the often difficult and demanding Ed, and manages Ed's cold and selfish family as well. Other characters in this colorful novel include Dana, a brittle physical therapist, the family cook Ellie and Trevor's own running internal monologue.
Then, after a little while, a voice is in the ad.
Sounds exactly like the bloke who played the evil-baddie in North by Northwest, you know him yes you do, silver hair, real refined, shite, what's this his name is...?
And this is what James Mason saying, softly: Trevor, you should endeavour to respond. ON the contrary, it will not be a waste of a subway token and will not involve your faith in humanity further being broken. My dear boy, this is for you. Believe me.
The Companion is a very entertaining, very bittersweet book. Trevor becomes, over the course of the book, a very different person from the hard-as-nails, sarcastic man we meet at the beginning; Roche takes us all the way under his shell and shows us the vulnerable and damaged man inside. It's possible to draw some parallels between his psyche and the outward condition of the people for whom he cares- and he does care about his patients and clients, not just for them.
This is book #5 in the Irish Reading Challenge 2011, on the way to Kiss the Blarney Stone Level (6 books) and book #3 of the Europa Challenge on my way to Amante Level.
FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.