I’ll Take You There: A Novel
“William Faulkner wrote that ‘the past is never dead.’ F. Scott Fitzgerald concluded The Great Gatsby with these words: ‘So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’” Wally Lamb, in his latest novel I’ll Take You There, reintroduces the character of Felix Funicello, last seen as a child in Wishin’ and Hopin’. Felix, now sixty, is a professor of film who runs a Monday night film group at a local theatre and former vaudeville venue. One night he is joined by the ghost of Lois Weber, one of the first female directors from the silent film era, and Billie Dove, a silent film star. Lois is there to guide him through films of his life so that he can learn something about the struggles the women in his life, past and present, have had to face. These meetings help him to reexamine the relationships he has with his daughter, ex-wife, and sisters, among others, and to face a long buried dark family secret.
Lamb once more gives us wonderfully nuanced characters who pull you into the story. Although this may not count among one of his best novels, it is a lovely, quiet read and a true pleasure.