The novel “Spoonbenders” by Daryl Gregory tells the story of a family of psychics’ who aren’t doing very well. You’d think a bunch of people with supernatural talents could use them to get ahead in life, but the three adult siblings in the Telemachus family are instead constantly stymied by their powers.

Irene can tell whether or not someone’s telling the truth, but that has ruined both relationships and jobs. Frankie can move objects with his mind, but he lacks control. He goes from running a roulette table to making it explode, and casino bosses nearly murder him. The youngest sibling, Buddy, can see the future, but only in bits and pieces. He spends the whole book counting down to something he calls “the zap.” It’s unclear to the reader until the end of the book whether this event might be the end of the world or just the end of his world.

The siblings’ aging father, Teddy Telemachus, seems to be doing better, at least well enough to support his dysfunctional children. But his powers are the most dubious of them all. It seems he’s likely just a smooth-talking con man. His children appear to have inherited their skills from their mother, Maureen. She’s been dead for 20 years, but still holds an important place as the beloved family matriarch. She was the most powerful of them all, and once worked for the CIA, using her powers to hunt Communists. But that didn?t keep her from dying young from cancer.

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