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Pity the poor comic novel, making its way with slender shoulders through a world where self-seriousness is too often taken as proof of substance. Immigration, estrangement, and a ruined economy all figure prominently in Catherine O’Flynn’s third novel, but humor is her métier, and “Mr. Lynch’s Holiday” is a charmer, smart and occasionally spooky.
As always, O’Flynn is concerned with the layers and crevasses of the past and how easy it can be to cover over them, to build something shiny and new that anchors itself in the landscape, whether it belongs there or not. What’s hidden beneath — forgotten, ignored, or simply unknown — is what she wants to bring into the light. If that means raising some ghosts, so be it.