SUMMARY: A landmarked midtown Manhattan address. Carnegie Hall and Central Park at your feet. Three hundred units. Thirty-two full-time employees. Five hundred neighbors. You’ve hit the big time. Joined the elite. But what do you know about them, the neighbors? Have you ever met them? Really engaged with them? Or do you gaze down in the elevator, the same way you do on the subway and the street?
The BookViral Review:
Happenstance, serendipity and luck dominate as the lives of characters crash against one another like pinballs in Patrick Finegan’s Cooperative Lives. A novel that perfectly captures the unscripted events and coincidence of real life, where you can do your utmost best, and it’s never quite good enough. An enthralling read and perplexing mystery we quickly come to grips with who the characters are and what their lives are like as Finegan writes with such directness and a fine ear for everyday dialogue that his characters seem real and plausible in just a few brief words. Avoiding the curse of cliché his characters are uniformly strong with their identities pivoting on their successes and failures which in turn justifies an intriguing array of coincidences and surprises. And on this level, he has an uncanny ability to draw us in and to make us care about them, or at least what it is they have done.
Novels like these that evolve through interlocking stories and disparate timeline often lose their way or lead to saccharin endings, where the characters are better because of what has happened to them. But Finegan explores the accidental nature of life and the way in which whole decades of our lives can be shaped by events we may not understand or even know about. Not all of them are better off at the end but perhaps some are better people because what has happened to them and this makes for a cracking denouement.
A powerful, chic and evocative read, Cooperative Lives proves a superb debut for Finegan and a must-read for discerning readers of top-notch literary fiction. It is recommended without reservation.