... dazzling ... Wildly inventive and daring, [Bonnaffons'] novel is a reflection on the limits of love that's both hilarious and heartbreaking ... In the hands of another author, The Regrets could have become something like the movie Ghost as reimagined by Nicholas Sparks. But Bonnaffons resists sentimentality and treacly reflections on love — her novel is open-hearted, but never cloying or dewy-eyed...That's partly because she writes with a straight face, never indulging in whimsy and always taking her characters seriously. And the writing itself is flawless — it can be difficult to pull off a love story, especially when one of the lovers is a ghost, but Bonnaffons does so with confidence and real insight into what it means to be totally infatuated with another person ... Bonnaffons also proves to be quite funny, and the humor in the novel keeps it from becoming unbearably sad ... a miracle of a love story, a brilliant novel that asks perceptive questions about the line between love and (literal) possession, about what we're willing to do for love, and what it feels like to be 'photographic negative of a person, an absence given form, a loose ache of consciousness attached to a cheap facsimile of a body.'
Written in piercing prose, this brisk exploration of love, sex, and loss will leave you feeling pleasantly haunted. But just as Thomas laments that a human body is a mostly inadequate vessel for a (half) life, this love story is an often frustrating vehicle for some truly grand ideas.
... a hypnotic page-turning hook with lyrical prose ...Thomas doesn’t seem worried. Access to his deep emotions aren’t available; it’s more that we experience Thomas’ re-emersion like a fly on the wall, rather than in his brain. This approach leaves the reader feeling detached from Thomas’ inner logic. The reason he has targeted this woman, Rachel, and what he’s looking for are not entirely understood ... Without the high-concept of death, Bonnaffons relaxes in her storytelling and gives us a deeper character ... a creative, high-concept narrative about relationships that never fully connect. In the end, however, everyone must move on.
... wildly imaginative ... Bonnaffons raises many provocative questions about human relationships in the 21st century, particularly the urgent search for intimacy that ironically is so often sabotaged by endless casual encounters. Spicy hot, impish, and not without its moments of poignancy and, yes, regrets.
[A] tight and lyrical debut novel ... Bonnaffons has a deft hand for dialogue and character development, which grounds the fantastical nature of her novel in the sharp truths of real-life love and desire. Perfect for fans of Melissa Broder’s The Pisces.
... smart, spooky ... Rarely does the macabre get so salacious .. .Through it all, Bonnaffons offers a worthy critique of the synecdoche of young adulthood, where sex sometimes stands in for love and clumsy attempts to throw parties are the height of community-building ... The question is, can this novel accommodate everything? The answer: Not completely. By the time Rachel and the book reach their conclusions, some readers may long for a lengthier, more complicated story. Others may be satisfied with this one’s evanescence, its haunting irresolution a reminder of our fleeting time on Earth.
[A] wonderful debut novel ... The tension of an ephemeral romance and impending loss will keep readers turning the pages, and the luminous prose is vibrant with penetrating observations ... This sexy, witty novel about life, death, and love’s power will enchant readers.
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.