- Trachtman, Howard
- Date of entry: Jul-24-2023
I Have Some Questions for You begins with the visit of Bodie Kane to Granby, the upscale New Hampshire boarding school that she attended on scholarship far from her home in rural Indiana. Back then she was a sullen out-of-place grungy adolescent, but now she is a successful journalist, famous for producing a podcast about the careers of women in Hollywood. She is a successful alumna and has been invited to teach a mini-course on podcasting during the mid-winter break. The life she leaves behind on the flight from Los Angeles is meta-stable, poised between a divorced husband living comfortably next door (he helps with child rearing) and a mysterious Israeli lawyer with whom she is having an on again-off again affair.
Bodie’s arrival at Granby triggers the resurfacing of complicated and painful memories of her time in high school. She asks each student in her class to make a podcast as a class project. Bodie suggests to one of them that she look into the death of Thalia Keith, who was found drowned in the school pool the night after she appeared in a play performance. Omar Evans, the school’s Black athletic trainer, was arrested and convicted of the murder after minimal investigation by the school or the local police. Thalia, the campus dream girl and object of adolescent desire, had been Bodie’s mismatched roommate the year before the murder. Bodie has deep suspicion about who killed Thalia and why it happened, all centered on a charismatic drama teacher. The predatory shadow of this abusive teacher hovers over the book from start to finish. The story unfolds in the wake of the #MeToo movement. But she is also uneasy about how the judicial system has mishandled Omar’s case and hopes the podcast may unearth new evidence that might cause Omar’s case to be reopened and exonerate him. But nothing in this deeply layered novel proceeds in a straight line. Her divorced husband becomes the subject of a social media attack for presumed sexual misconduct, and Bodie is forced to react. Old friends reveal new secrets. Established history is seen in a new light. What Bodie thought she knew about people is upended. The ending is neat but satisfying. Rebecca Makkai does not just have her finger on the pulse of our time – she is able to bring it fully to life.