Craig Lancaster’s third novel about the life and times of Edward Stanton, a middle-aged man with Asperger’s syndrome who grew up in Billings, finds our hero married and an expectant father.
Edward wears his heart on his sleeve. He calls it as he sees it, frankly and often with great humor, acknowledging to himself, “I’m pretty funny sometimes.” Edward loves language, words that not only have profound meaning, but just sound good when you speak them (“good word”).
The book takes the form of a diary, whereby Edward opens each chapter with a letter to his unborn child. The chapter closes with his wife, Sheila’s, perspective on events. With warmth, humor and insight, the author guides his characters toward accepting their new roles in life with a gentle hand, and a few unexpected turns.
Lancaster inserts a character from one of his previous novels into Edward’s life, upsetting the already tenuous relationship that Edward shares with his mother. If that’s not enough, the birth of his daughter sends Sheila into a perilous state of health.
Edward is somehow able to navigate this turmoil. In the end, he tells his child, “The time you have is like spooled thread. It comes off, little bit by little bit, until there’s nothing left. Your life is unspooled.”
The Billings author first introduced Edward Stanton in 600 Hours of Edward, which earned the High Plains Book Award for best first book. He revived his popular character in Edward Adrift. Other works include The Summer Son and a collection of short stories, The Art of Departure.
– Judy Shafter