Author ~ TJ Klune
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 26th April 2017
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M, Romantic Fiction
It begins with a message that David cannot ignore:
I want to see you.
He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.
David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.
Phillip offers redemption.
Again, as it was with Murmuration, the author really wants the reader to head into this story spoiler free and so to that end it becomes quite a hard book to review. It is also a very hard book to read! I can’t say that I absolutely adored it, it’s just not that kind of book, but I did admire the writing and the ability to tell a story of this nature in a unique way and was intrigued right the way through this bittersweet tale. It is told from the point of view of David, one of the main characters, and all we glean from the blurb is that he’s had a message to meet someone named Phillip and one night they will come together and sift through some past memories. We’re told that David is shouldering a six year burden of guilt and that possibly Phillip offers some redemption of this.
The reasons for reading this blind are twofold. The author wants you to believe that you’re eavesdropping on a conversation and situation that is unfolding before your eyes, almost in real time. To this end, I recommend you put aside a couple of uninterrupted hours of reading time, so you can let this play out. The second reason is the emotional impact this story has, especially when you get to the crux of it. I said this was a hard book to read and it is, it will impact different people on different levels. Some may feel no connection to the story or David either and some people will have such ‘wookie cryface’ they are housebound for a while until the eye puffiness subsides. Me, I was somewhere in the middle. This book made me cry a little but that had more to do with the overall impact of TJ’s writing. His clever use of language and the triple repetition of words and phrases to drive home the point had a real effect on me. I was also much more emotional in my response to Phillip than I was to David. However, you cannot stay unmoved by their plight. David’s guilt and self loathing are pervasive and cloying in their intensity and you can totally understand this. Phillip’s strength is what I was drawn to and that’s why I think I had a stronger connection to him than David.
It is a very angsty read and offers little in the way of your ‘typical romance’, but there are some touching moments interspersed throughout and the title itself holds the crown for this. If you want an angsty, bittersweet, second chances story with an ending full of hope then you should set aside some time and tissues and delve right in. TJ Klune’s writing always takes you on a journey and this is no exception, though maybe a little harder on the heart than usual.
Meet TJ Klune
When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, over two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder. But that’s okay, because he’s recently become a full-time writer, and can give them the time they deserve.
Since being published, TJ has won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance, fought off three lions that threatened to attack him and his village, and was chosen by Amazon as having written one of the best GLBT books of 2011.
And one of those things isn’t true.
(It’s the lion thing. The lion thing isn’t true.)
TJ can be reached at email@example.com.