Fabulous Fiction Firsts #727
Fri, 02/28/2020 - 8:31am by muffy
NPR Book Reviewer Michael Schaub called The Regrets * * by Amy Bonnaffons, “(a) dazzling debut novel… Wildly inventive and daring, a reflection on the limits of love that's both hilarious and heartbreaking.”
Due to an institutional error at the Office of the afterlife, 26-year old Thomas Barrett is unable to "cross over"(motorcycle accident that killed his best friend), and must complete a 3-month stint on earth so as to allow the Office to process his eventual arrival. Apart from the detailed report he must submit weekly, there are rules he is encouraged to follow so as not to incur regrets. Chief among them: not to attempt any new relationships, and especially no sexual contact.
Rachel Starr, a young librarian has rotten luck with men, but she is certain the handsome, golden-haired, melancholy young man sitting at her Brooklyn bus stop day after day is different. When she finally approaches him, the chemistry between them is undeniable, and their affair, intense and all-consuming. But as Thomas approaches the end of his time on earth, he begins to fade, body part by body part, until he is invisible. Distraught and confused, Rachel turns to Mark, her newly-single college boyfriend for solace.
“It is a plot that could be - that should be - unbearably twee, oppressively quirky, in love with its own melancholy. Instead, Bonnaffons’ (The Wrong Heaven, 2018) first full-length novel is a rare pleasure: a philosophical rom-com too weird, too bodily, too precise, too fun to get bogged down in trembling sentiment. Deep and deeply funny.” (Kirkus Reviews)
* * = 2 starred reviews
Just released is another rom-com based on a clerical error at the Afterlife Administration: Daisy Cooper's Rules for Living by Tamsin Keily. In this 'Bridget Jones meets "The Good Place" ', a woman whose untimely death sparks the journey of a lifetime.
Daisy Cooper is flying high, just about to move in with her boyfriend. A slip on an icy patch lands her in the Afterlife - except she is a bit early - by 50 years. Stuck in limbo, prevented from fully passing on while Death sorts out the mistake, she becomes his assistant. Working together, Daisy finds that Death isn't the Grim Reaper she believed him to be. And as she learns how to survive this strange reality, friendship, hope and love begin to come alive in the most unexpected ways.
"Keily's debut is a witty and clever look at life, love, and grief..." (Booklist)