A reader expects so much more from literary fiction than from its less culturally evolved siblings. And not just in the quality of writing. One expects more depth, more complexity, more resonance, more beauty. One expects, and deserves, a novel like Cooperative Li
... [I]f you are looking for a book to savor, to appreciate the writing as much as the story line and plot, to satisfy your love for words as much as existential observations or distractions, look no further.
Whereas most books begin in a status quo and introduce their conflict to the initial detriment of their characters, this book holds all of its cards from the very first page and forces the reader to pay rapt attention as it lays each one of them down in turn. What seem like challenging but mundane moments in life soon become so much more, whether in linear progression or as the story makes time hops months or years into the past. The story itself unfolds in a similar fashion, beginning with a pair of couples who used to socialize before death, divorce, and unemployment separated them. It then grows to include suspense, intrigue, danger, and espionage without deviating from its core cast of characters... Written with all the passion and flourish of a love letter yet with all the calculation and clockwork of a crime novel, Finegan’s novel is a fascinating slice-of-life that rings true even as it attempts the fantastic.
Patrick Finegan's luscious novel Cooperative Li
follows characters whose lives change when they are brought into close proximity with each other through a series of coincidences, accidents, and international espionage... The story moves forward and backward in time with ease, teasing forth details and offering clues about a deeper underlying story and tangled interconnections. The addition of an international conspiracy makes it tempting to turn pages at a rapid speed, but masterful prose, marked by evocative phrasing and apt metaphors, encourages savoring each exquisite sentence and its imagery... There's much to relish and ponder in this tragicomedy. Ambitious and sophisticated, Cooperative Li
is a diverse and gorgeous tapestry of character studies and is a pure delight to read.
An intricate and intriguing tale with a lot of plot twists and details hidden in plain sight... The people in this story are well-drawn, each with their own fully-developed personality – and their individual personality quirks together drive the plot, demonstrating the author’s gift for truly elegant plot design. This is the sort of book that rewards, indeed perhaps requires, reading more than once in order to catch all the little details and plot points one may miss on a casual reading... Cooperative Li
is a complicated but beautifully engineered book, with its intertwined secrets, interacting lives, and the carefully-woven story that emerges from them.
A deliciously rich, intricate plot... The story has everything I look for in a fiction novel; espionage, intrigue, tension, corruption and a fantastic display of real human behavior... Overall, this is a perfect example of character interaction and development.
Set inside a post 9-11 New York City, the sadness and distrust of these characters rise off the page. Finegan gives each character, however minor, heft, with backstories and quirks that deepen the plot, as well as exploring varying facets of the human condition. He is a gifted wordsmith, crafting sentences that are rich and multilayered, which propels the story along beyond the intricacies of the plot. A rare work of literary fiction that also shines as a mystery and a thriller, Cooperative Li
offers a brilliant exposé on the shattered nature of modern lives.
Finegan writes with authority and grace... [He] avoids clichéd stereotypes for his fascinating cast of characters, with each exhibiting strengths and weaknesses as they navigate the ins and outs of their daily lives – their layers of armor stripped away until there’s nothing left but raw emotion fed by love, hate, and the subtleties in between... [A] masterfully written work of literary fiction, Cooperative Li
gives readers an incisive look at ordinary people being blindsided by the uglier side of life, and does so with beautifully evocative prose.
An intricately plotted, well-written tale. Finegan's style is clean and straightforward. His characters are imperfect and easily relatable people who experience the peaks and valleys that inform all lives... Strong on both character and plot, it’s most likely to be enjoyed by readers drawn to intelligent writing.
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... A powerful, chic and evocative read, Cooperative Lives
proves a superb début for Finegan and a must-read for discerning readers of top-notch literary fiction. It is recommended without reservation.
Finegan’s writing is incredibly evocative... However, it is in his characterisations where [he] really excels... [E]ach person is given a distinct voice and identity, making it not only easy to work out who is speaking, but also makes the reader genuinely care about these characters. The reader is able to see both sides of a situation and can empathise with the people in it, becoming impartial observers in a way... Cooperative Li
begins quite slowly but gradually builds momentum to a shocking climax... Maybe not one for those who like their novels fast-paced, but Cooperative Li
is a well-written, character-driven thriller which will keep readers hooked.
A gripping, character-driven novel and a literary work of art... Set in New York only a few years ago, it is a story written with a gold-tipped pen; a story full of complex characters, many, if not all of them, inherently imperfect and distrustful of others... I recommend this book absolutely! If you enjoy a ‘thoughtful’ tale, the sort of story that keeps you guessing, a story populated with well-constructed characters, then this is for you.
A true testament of pure literary creative skill that casts a huge shadow over all things that have come before in the genre... With heart-stopping revelations that the reader simply will not see coming and the most detailed character development that could ever find its way into literature, this is a novel to be savored and revisited again and again in the future.
takes an intriguing look at the intersecting lives of the residents of a Manhattan Coop. The multitude of personalities weave a complete story told in alternating points of view, rolling backward and forward in time, and tie the apparently unconnected neighbors in unexpected ways.
Bradley Allen, Manhattan Book Review
Filled with twisty turns, shocking revelations, and provocative portrayals of institutionalized power inequities, “Cooperative Lives” is a precisely engineered cautionary tale that entertains.
[Finegan is] a master of the slow reveal. At first, the profusion of minute details about his characters’ lives feels gratuitous, yet the voluminous threads eventually weave together to show how these wretched and paranoid characters became the lost and broken people they are today... Contemporary fiction fans will be enthralled by the tragic lives of upscale Manhattanites in this tale of espionage, corruption, and infidelity.
The changes in point of view are often abrupt, but the reader who follows from person to person, lie to lie, and secret to secret will find themselves at the heart of a dark web that stretches well beyond the building to a case that almost seems ripped from the headlines of the late 2000s and early 2010s when this story takes place. While the author describes this work as extremely recent historical fiction, this character-driven story is most definitely a work of exquisite literary fiction that uses the exploration of its characters to drive the narrative.
With a generous helping of plot twists and well fleshed-out characters, this book is an intricate study in the forces of human nature. The story is skillfully woven together to create intricate layers of intrigue that will keep readers enthralled clear through to the unexpected conclusion.
Finegan does not come across as a debut author in this finely woven story with multiple timelines and plot lines delicately strung together, enriching the narrative in a way that a linear plot line would not... While many authors are good at writing emotion, it is often difficult to translate a character’s confusion to the reader, which is one of Finegan’s strengths... The characters’ problems, reactions, and dialog all feel realistic. Finegan has a wonderful grasp of understatement and subtext that allows the reader to realize the intended point without being overly prodded by the author.
The first chapter was rough to get through, but my commitment paid off as every sentence about this bitter dude with an obsession for collecting water drew me in. You would think an IT guy would know not to put his key card and magnet in the same pocket. What the reader does not know is that whatever lies beyond is all dark humor and delightful tragedy.
This book is elegant and intriguing. The characters are complex and the prose flows seamlessly. I found myself falling deeper and deeper into a black hole of suspense the more I read. Cooperative Li
is an exquisitely thrilling read!
Cooperative Lives is the most thrilling work of literature I've read all year. perhaps for many years. Through a collection of extraordinarily perceptive character depictions, Patrick Finegan evokes a complex plot of espionage, fiscal and medical malfeasance, lust and hapless coincidence that captures the essence of our times. This is not an easy book to read; it is best grasped through several readings-- as are the best of books. Not only are the characters drawn with sharp perception, each of the diverse settings and situations is presented with a deep knowledge of place and detail. This is a staggering work of research enlivened with great style and increasingly black humor. This is the US in the 21st century as formed by Caliban's god -- harrowing in its accurate vision. I hope Mr. Finegan is busy writing a sequel, I can hardly wait to see what he would do with the Trump era.
Patrick Finegan pens a riveting and unnerving mystery... A page-turner from beginning to end, Cooperative Li
is a must for mystery aficionados.