In “The Reason You’re Alive,” Matthew Quick performs a nifty literary magic trick.
The author of “The Silver Linings Playbook” introduces readers to David Granger, a politically incorrect Vietnam veteran who takes pride in the fact that he’s basically too ornery to die. By book’s end, everyone will wind up loving the camouflage-wearing, knife-carrying sociopath.
Turns out he’s really not such a bad guy once you get to know him.
“The Reason You’re Alive” (Harper, $25.99) is Granger telling his life story: going rogue and committing atrocities in the Vietnam jungle, coming home to a military psychiatric facility, marrying a woman more unstable than he is, and always at odds with his now-grown “ignorant” liberal art-dealer son.
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Our protagonist ultimately goes on a mission to atone for an old transgression. He feels compelled to return a knife he stole nearly 50 years ago from his Vietnam nemesis: Clayton Fire Bear.
When readers make it to the Capra-esque final pages, they are almost certain to shed a feel-good tear or two. Our hero would bust their chops for all the “boohooing” and “girly-man behavior,” but so be it.
Quick is adapting his book into a screenplay. Film rights were sold last year to Miramax.
Also new in bookstores
▪ “A Game of Ghosts” by John Connolly (Emily Bestler, $26.99). The author’s 15th novel about ex-NYPD Detective Charlie Parker might be his creepiest paranormal thriller yet. The hunt for a missing P.I. will lead Parker to the Brethren, a gang of malevolent spirits.
▪ “Stillhouse Lake” by Rachel Caine (Thomas & Mercer, $15.95). The ordinary existence of a mother of two is upended when her husband’s double life — he’s a serial killer — is revealed. Four years later, with a new identity, she finds she still cannot escape the past.
▪ “The Lightkeeper’s Daughters” by Jean E. Pendziwol (Harper, $26.99). A children’s author makes an elegant adult-fiction debut. The story involves a blind woman in a retirement home, a delinquent teen performing community service and diaries that hold a dark secret.