Cavanaugh

by Joshua Kornreich

Cavanaugh is not Kavanaugh, and Kavanaugh is not Cavanaugh. Yet when Cavanaugh, a pencil-pushing, number-crunching, “middling, middle-aged middleman,” reluctantly buys a bobblehead of the controversial Supreme Court justice for his innocent young daughter at a minor league baseball game, past traumas are retriggered, households unravel, and a mysterious inner voice reawakens, knocking Cavanaugh off the wagon and steering him headlong into the hillocky and tortuous terrain of the surreal and absurd. With a narrative that charms and intoxicates sentence-by-sentence, Cavanaugh is not only a bleak comedy of the reverberating repercussions set off by a single fraught decision, but also a darkly poignant reminder that no matter how rigorously we endeavor to seek refuge from what haunts us, memory will always find a way to creep into the din of our surroundings, forcing itself upon us against our will and, inevitably, of those we love most.