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My name’s Charlie. I’m many things, though none of them having to do with any real talent. I’m a runaway, a hustler when I need to be, a ghost when I have to scare hoodlums away from my home, and a loner who maybe reads too much. But most of all, I’m the keeper of the carnival. That’s how I see myself. I look after the place ’cause even dying things need to be cared for. Maybe it’s illegal. Maybe that rusty metal fence around the carnival is supposed to keep me out too. Or maybe me and this place were meant to find each other. Truth is, I never felt at home anywhere but here, not even in all the foster families and orphanages I was placed in as a young shit. They don’t look for me no more, those places. I suspect I ran away so much they finally just said, “Fuck! Let him go.” I am a hangnail on society’s manicured middle finger. I’m older. One year past the age anyone gives a shit.
And this is my adventure.
I’m in awe, honestly. From the story concept, to the creativity and imagery, there’s truly nothing comparable in the m/m PNR genre; Wave Goodbye to Charlie stands alone as one of the best tales I’ve read this year.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about the plot; I feel like doing so would reveal the heart and soul of what happens in the story. I will share this: Charlie, the MC has a hard life. He’s a hustler, stealing what he needs and selling his body where he can and must in order to survive. He lives at an abandoned carnival site (a deliciously creepy abandoned carnival site, thank you very much), and though he doesn’t realize it just yet, life as he knows it is about to take a dramatic, severe, sharp left turn.
It wasn’t entirely clear to me what period of time things take place in Charlie. There were points when I was reading that it felt like it could be the 1920s or 30s, but details led me to imagine everything was happening in present day. I’m not even sure it’s relevant, except that it felt other-timely and ethereal. The book is set up with three main parts, almost a then-now-future/now structure.
The cast of supporting characters were diverse and three-dimensional, and all were just as entertaining and complex as Charlie himself, from Jimmy and Leroy, Charlie’s…father figures, to Nessa and Alfie and…others who helped usher Charlie along on his winding journey to a place called Evermore.
Wave Goodbye to Charlie isn’t a romance, not really. In fact, there’s not a true love interest for Charlie at all. There’s certainly no heat to speak of, but I can promise you it doesn’t matter. You’ll be captivated from the moment you start reading, and the missing romance won’t ever cross your mind. For me, that was due to all the love I felt for this book, and the journey I took while I was reading.
This is a novel that will make you think about your beliefs, it will make you wonder about those around you that you can’t see, and it will certainly deconstruct (and hopefully reassemble!) your ideas about where we go when we leave this world, so full of all its wants and needs and physical things.
Charlie is mysterious—SO mysterious—but not in a way that’s angsty or frustrating. You’re simply compelled to turn the page and turn the page, until all of the sudden it’s over, and you’re left wanting, needing more, but at the same time, your thirst is quenched and you just want to be alone with your thoughts for a while.
Wave Goodbye to Charlie was my first novel by Eric Arvin, and it’s a true must-read. Arvin is a brilliant writer, and I’m so excited to read more of his work.