Jonathan Floyd’s young adult novel LOST ON THE EDGE OF ETERNITY is many years in the making. Bill Fellars, the lead character and narrator, is the counselor at a high school in the fading community of Brownville, in its final year before shutting down forever. One day, a long-dead former student, Randy Gauphin, appears to Fellars looking for support, and unveils a whole new world. Gauphin lives amongst the town’s residents, together with the victims of various tragic incidents that have afflicted the school and community over many years, from a racist lynching over piano lessons to a speed-freak’s car crash. The dead, it turns out, are all still hanging around. Invisible except where they choose to appear to people, the ghosts of Brownville’s youth have been forced into action due to the town’s fragile state – as the people depart following the close of the town’s key employer, the ghosts would be left alone, unable to move outside their former stomping ground. The dozen or so departed, however, all feel they have unfinished business and something specific that stops them passing over to the other side. Their issues range from helping out family and trying to redirect them towards happiness, to revenge or completing pieces of art stopped short by the deaths.
Housed only slightly inconspicuously in the local Halloween scare house, Fellars leads the ghosts on a kind of post-death Bucket List, fulfilling with some difficulty their various ‘missed aims’ in life, and roping in the school librarian along the way. This leads to Fellars being seen as weird, with his newfound habits of ‘talking to himself’, and wandering the streets late at night, as well as becoming involved — or rather at issue — with a local crime gang. Despite its slightly dark themes and some surreal moments, LOST ON THE EDGE OF ETERNITY is a lighthearted book with some lovely character development and a quirky direction. There are comic parts, but more than that, there are moments that show readers, via the book’s characters, that life is short–and subtly redirects attention towards things that actually matter–a concept that can easily get lost amongst life’s clutter. A conceptual book a long time in the making, then, has been converted into a sharp, playful but intelligent and memorable take on life’s sadder side, on loss, and on maximizing our time on earth.
Jonathan Floyd’s LOST ON THE EDGE OF ETERNITY, a story of regret laced with otherworldly vibes, is an enrapturing and playful piece of fiction that achieves a combination of wit and wisdom, along with enjoyable, easy-to-read charm.
~James Hendicott for IndieReader