Friday, March 3, 2017

#fridayreads Edward Unspooled by Craig Lancaster

Edward Unspooled
Craig Lancaster
File Size: 3117 KB
Print Length: 286 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Missouri Breaks Press (July 23, 2016)
Publication Date: July 23, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
BOOK BLURB: Change keeps stalking Edward Stanton. He and his new wife, Sheila, have retreated to his small house in Montana after an unsuccessful attempt at operating a motel in Colorado. That failure has left wounds, especially for Sheila, and now they face a bigger challenge: pregnancy and impending parenthood.
Edward begins penning notes to the child (ever precise, he refers to the gestating being as “Cellular Stanton”) as he navigates married life with Sheila, who is unhappy and unfulfilled in Montana; a work partnership with his friend Scott Shamwell, whose own life is teetering; and the emergence of a long-buried family secret and the effect of this revelation on his relationship with his overbearing mother.
Even as Edward’s world expands, he must confront questions about whom to let in, how much to give, the very definition of family, the fragility of hope, and the expanses of love.
REVIEW: This story is written via letters that Edward is writing to his unborn child, with responses from his wife, Sheila. The technique works on so many levels, the main one being that Edward, a man with Asperger's, finds it so hard to express himself. The insights that each character gains along the way of the story are striking and add conflict and drama in all the right places.
In one section, where Edward is writing about his wife being so emotional, he says, "Dr. Arlene Hayworth said pregnancy is like dumping every emotion you ever had out onto a table and then playing with them randomly."
So true, and only one of the many thought-provoking quotes I highlighted in the book.
There is also a lot of humor in this book, something I enjoyed so much in the first two books, 600 Hours of Edward and Edward Adrift.  Edward has a very dry wit, and his friend Scott Shamwell has a barroom humor that is very amusing. At least to the reader, not always so amusing to Sheila.
When Edward is writing one of his letters to his unborn child he is telling the child that at that point the " is the length of a zucchini, which is something I found out on the internet, which has any number of places that will compare the size of a gestating child to a fruit or vegetable. And there's also this. If you're a boy, your testicles are descending into your scrotum. That is exciting. If you are anything like Scott Shamwell, you're going to touch and talk about your testicles a lot." That made me laugh out loud
Then Edward follows that section by writing that he loves the baby even though he hasn't met the baby. And he writes, "I love a little zucchini that may or may not have descending testicles. Who knew? That's just a joke kid I'm pretty funny sometimes."
During the course of events that touch Edward's life in this story, and as he works his way through the complications, there are many life lessons that he learns that are also applicable to everyone. One of those is when he has been given an ultimatum by his mother that puts him in the position of having to choose between two people that he loves. Edward thinks about what the psychiatrist that he had been seeing years ago said to him about that. "People who force such decisions do so to get confirmation of their own importance to you. The irony is, it erodes the love and trust you've worked so hard to build."
That contrast between insight and humor is one of the strengths of Craig Lancaster's writing and makes his books such a delight to read. The characters are so vividly drawn, they become like good friends that we can share a few laughs with, as well as a heart-to-heart connection. I eagerly await the next installment in the series about Edward.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Craig Lancaster is the author of numerous novels and a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers as a writer and an editor. 600 Hours of Edward, his debut novel, was a Montana Honor Book and the 2010 High Plains Book Award winner for best first book. His work has also been honored by the Utah Book Awards and with an Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal, among other citations.
Before writing fiction, he worked at newspapers, big and small, in Texas, Alaska, Kentucky, Ohio, California, Washington and Montana. Lancaster lives in Billings, Montana, with his wife, bestselling author Elisa Lorello (Faking It, Pasta Wars, The Second First Time).
Follow him on TWITTER
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 This review originally posted on Maryann's blog, It's Not All Gravy
Maryann Miller - novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent mystery, Doubletake, was named the 2015 Best Mystery by the Texas Association of Authors. She has a number of other books published, including the critically-acclaimed Season Mystery Series that debuted with Open Season. Information about her books and her editing rates is available on her website. When not writing, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas.


  1. Great review, Maryann! Your presentation of the story intrigues me; now I just may have to buy the book. :-)

  2. Linda, you will enjoy the book a lot, but you might want to start with the first in the series. While they are complete in their own way, each book does build on the other.

  3. I love literary fiction for its ability to dive deep into character without worrying about the expectations of genre. Sounds like a touching story.

    1. I, too, like that aspect of fiction that does not adhere strictly to a genre, but as Craig points out in an interview on my blog, his work is not really literary. I think it could be classified as mainstream fiction, which encompasses a lot of books that aren't strictly mystery or romance or fantasy.


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