A poignant and touching account of one woman moving on after great tragedy. Shortall’s American debut does not go for easy solutions but shows how grief manifests differently for those who experience it. Secondary characters in the novel provide necessary comic relief and hope to Grace that life will go on.
Can be very funny in an infectious sort of way. Characters are invoked in broad strokes ... Because of the strangeness – the dilemma of whether or not to shack up with your dead partner’s long-lost twin because he does and does not resemble him in a convenient mix – it feels slightly unsuited to the convention of breezy, cozy romcom. The concept feels perfect for a dark, psychological literary mystery about the nature of obsession a la John Banville. But that, of course, is to criticise a book for what it isn’t rather than what it is. The other side is that it’s pleasing to see romantic comedy about such knotty psychological situations. And a slightly uncomfortable story is always, in whatever genre, more rewarding than a comfortable story.
Grace (who narrates the bulk of the book) has a straightforward, often droll tone, and Shortall in general focuses on small, daily details over sweeping, dramatic ones. This is a blessing and a curse; it tempers the high drama of the plot into something sweet and (almost) believable. But in the dance between the two she loses sight of the story of grief, which deserves more attention ... Strongest in its depiction of modern Dublin characters and their entertaining interactions, muddled when it comes to the meat of the story.