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The World of Tomorrow

Review

The World of Tomorrow

Three brothers, a dead father, the Irish mob in New York City, a boatload of stolen IRA money, the 1939 World’s Fair, and one week. Imagine all of this set to a jazz soundtrack. It seems like a lot for one book, doesn’t it? It is. But here’s the wonderful part --- it’s not!

Francis Dempsey is fresh out of an Irish prison, flush with stolen IRA cash, and pretending to be a Scottish Lord who is taking his injured younger brother, Michael, to New York City for treatment. He hopes to find a doctor who can help Michael overcome his debilitating injury, and also would like to connect with their older brother, Martin. What he truly needs, though, is to put as much distance between himself and Ireland as possible following an unfortunate accident with the IRA that injured Michael. On top of hiding that deception, and caring for Michael, he also needs to deliver sad news to Martin --- their father has passed away.

"Oh, yes, there is a lot going on in THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, but all of it flows together so wonderfully.... At first, I was skeptical of the scope and breadth of Brendan Mathew’s ambitious debut novel, but there’s a rich reward at the end."

In New York, Martin is dealing with his own sort of crisis. A jazz musician with a regular house gig, he has decided he’s had enough of playing other people’s music and decides it’s time to act on his own dreams. His wife, however, would prefer to be able to feed and clothe their two young daughters. On top of his own plans --- which he has yet to share with her --- Rosemary is dealing with enough family drama to overflow the Hudson River.

Francis and Michael make it to New York and have the good fortune to connect with Martin. While a family reunion takes place, word of Francis’ theft gets around, making a lot of people unhappy about the circumstances but more than happy to settle some long overdue family scores. Francis knew his prison escape and IRA run-in would eventually catch up with him, but he didn't expect it to happen so quickly. Having convinced himself that stealing from the IRA was the right thing to do, he knows that he’s still going to have to pay, but he never imagined what the price would be.

With the three brothers reunited, the next seven days change everyone’s lives, even the ones marginally touched by the Dempsey clan. Chance encounters with a talented photographer, an emotionally fragile New York City heiress, and a random psychic round out a week that no one caught in the Dempsey sphere will ever forget.

Oh, yes, there is a lot going on in THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, but all of it flows together so wonderfully. It’s really about three brothers and their father at its core. Family is what drives all three Dempsey boys. Martin, who has been away the longest and with a full life of his own, takes a while to adjust to being the older brother again, but when he does, he clearly isn’t interested in having it any other way. Francis, while he certainly can put on an act, needs more help than he’s willing to admit. Oddly, Michael, dealing with his injury, scared and almost unaware of the world around him, is the one who finds the help they all need.

At first, I was skeptical of the scope and breadth of Brendan Mathew’s ambitious debut novel, but there’s a rich reward at the end. THE WORLD OF TOMORROW is one book you’ll fall in love with easily.

Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski on September 21, 2017

The World of Tomorrow
by Brendan Mathews

  • Publication Date: September 5, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 0316382191
  • ISBN-13: 9780316382199