New format alert! We’re diving right into Niall T. Lynch’s will this chapter, which is full of legal jargon and clues. I just love clues about Matthew. Mostly because I love Matthew, but some of it comes from my love of clues.
Two of the three Lynch brothers are having dinner together, so already the tension is high. Matthew wants them to get together to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July, and Ronan wants to do anything but that. Meanwhile the will is interrupting their conversation every few paragraphs, detailing the 3 million dollars each brother will have when they turn 18.
This is when I had to take a break and ask: why are they so concerned with Ronan graduating from Aglionby? Can he not just get his G.E.D. and then live off his literal millions of dollars? This isn’t one of those instances where “stay in school” should be universally accepted, in my opinion.
The real question is, can the brothers really not go back to the Barns? Matthew asks the question, and the will answers it: no, they can’t. It’s so airtight it’s scary. They’ll lose all 3 million of their dollars if they put even a toe over the property line.
Upon my death, none of my children shall trespass the physical boundaries of “the Barns,” nor disturb any of the contents there, living or inert, or the assets dealt within this Will shall be bequeathed instead to the New York-Roscommon Fund
We figure out that Niall liked Ronan best and Aurora liked Matthew best. Ronan contemplates whether or not to bring Aurora to Cabeswater and revive her, given the plain facts. The plain facts are that he has no idea what the hell is going on and Declan is an enigma. A Ken Doll-shaped enigma.
Matthew, of course, drops an intense quote with all of his charming baby-boy grace:
“Says you and Dad were both dreamers,” Matthew said, “and you’re going to make us lose everything.”
So Declan isn’t an enigma. He knows everything. And that means Ronan can safely tell Matthew that he’s going to wake up their mother. Not just tell, promise—and as we were reminded early on the very same page, Ronan doesn’t lie. Let the search for Cabeswater begin.
Thoughts and Feelings:
This chapter is so pleasant. Mostly because Matthew is painted with the most delightful descriptions, and because everyone knows a Matthew. Always hungry, eternally friendly, kind of stupid. I’m less endeared towards him now because a lot has been coming out recently given the racist and misgynistic culture of high school lacrosse teams, and that means our sweet boy Matthew is complicit in all of that, but he’s also a character in a book, so I’m going to leave it at that.
I also feel connected to this chapter just because of the whole sibling dynamic. As one of three whose parents don’t have favorites, per se, but definitely have preferences, it can be hard. There are two parents and three kids, which is mathematically depressing. I’m very much the Matthew of the bunch, who’s kind of like “yeah whatever but Dad likes me best so the rest of you can fight over Mom.” I’m generally really appreciative of narratives that give siblings the realistic relationships they deserve. No “what’s up little bro” in this book!
And now on to my favorite part of the chapter: the clues! WARNING: if you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now please and thank you!!!!
For all of the rest of you, there are so many moments that allude to the fact that Matthew is a dream. In the will Niall defines child as “born to or adopted by me.” Ronan compares his eyes to the dreamt baby mouse from the Barns. Both Declan and Chainsaw get distracted by the same butterfly, which has a 2/2 record if you only count dreamt creatures. And then, of course, the fact that he’s Aurora’s favorite. Dreams recognize dreams, I guess.
It’s a mystery of the same caliber as “hey, Noah told you he was dead the first time you met him,” which is a very high caliber. Obviously. This is why we read books slowly! Because stuff like this comes up! Sorry for all the exclamation points, I’m just very excited. Hopefully that emotion continues into the next chapter.
Best Character Moment:
“Declan started hating me first,” Ronan said. “In case you were wondering. So that wasn’t me.”
Matthew blew out a tuna-scented breath with the sanguine, pleasant air of either a nun or a pothead. “He was just upset Dad liked you the best. I didn’t care. Everybody has favorite things. Mom liked me best anyway.”
Best Turn of Phrase:
Matthew Lynch was a golden, indiscriminate pit into which the world threw food.
Action: One tuna sandwich destroyed. No other movement. 4/10
Magic: Chainsaw finally got her chance to shine. Plus five points for all the hints. 7/10
Comic Relief: Matthew Lynch is Calla adjacent in terms of comedic potential, and you can quote me on that. 11/10