A new novel by Chris Lynch is always welcome. Last year's HOTHOUSE went unnoticed, more's the pity. Now he gives us ANGRY YOUNG MAN (Simon & Schuster 2011), a story that explores some familiar territory for those who know Lynch's work. Robert narrated this novel about his relationship with his brothter, Alexander, Xan, a young man who is passionate sometimes to the point of extreme reactions. Robert is relieved when Xan begins to show interest in joining the living, getting a job, making new friends, playing soccer again. However, little by little, things that should bring Xan happiness seem instead to set off mercurial changes in temperament. <72>
What Lynch does in all of his books is delicately explore dangerous terrain. Xan is a landscape full of landmines. His swiftly changing moods are frightening to the reader as they are to Xan's family. Robert, on the other hand, is a tad more grounded. That does not mean, though, that he cannot connect with his brother's quick temper or his mother's sometimes questionable behavior. Both Robert and Xan and their mother sometimes seem at the edge of civilization; they are people who are constantly in danger of being lost in the fissures of society because of things beyond their control. However, there is hope for all of them since the family ties are strong and made stronger through adversity.