As A Good and Happy Child opens, narrator George Davies is seeking relief for his chronic anxiety and alienation through psychoanalysis. His marriage is falling apart, and his effectiveness as a father to his newborn son is threatened. George believes that the solutions to his problems can be discovered in a careful re-examination of his past, but he must be ready for what comes of recalling things that have been locked away for more than 20 years.
It was at a crucial point in George's childhood immediately following his father's death that the problems seem to have begun. After seeing a spectral, doppelganger-like figure when he was 11 years old, George began his descent into an existence dominated by what seemed to be visual and auditory hallucinations. Several of his father's friends possessed a flair for spiritualism, and George gradually came to believe that his affliction was identical to what had apparently affected his (possibly murdered?) father. Grieving for a dead father like a young Hamlet, the young George moves through a frightening world complicated by madness, spirituality and tragedy.
In this chilling tale, Justin Evans adroitly manages a compelling narrative style, complex plot and intriguing characters. His debut successfully hovers between the sublime terrors of Dostoyevsky and the melodramatic extravagance of The Exorcist.