In this moving and enormously entertaining debut novel, longtime romantic partners Kathryn and Chris experiment with an open relationship and reconsider everything they thought they knew about love.
After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris have the sort of relationship most would envy. They speak in the shorthand they have invented, complete one another’s sentences, and help each other through every daily and existential dilemma. But, as content as they are together, an enduring loneliness continues to haunt the dark corners of their relationship. When Chris tells Kathryn about his feelings for Emily, a vivacious young woman he sees often at the Laundromat, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend to pursue this other woman—certain that her bond with Chris is strong enough to weather a little side dalliance.
Next Year, For Sure tracks the tumultuous, revelatory, and often very funny year that follows. When Chris’s romance with Emily evolves beyond what anyone anticipated, both Chris and Kathryn are invited into Emily’s communal home, where Kathryn will discover new possibilities of her own. In the confusions, passions, and upheavals of their new lives, both Kathryn and Chris are forced to reconsider their past and what they thought they knew about love.
Offering a luminous portrait of a relationship from two perspectives, Zoey Leigh Paterson has written an empathic, beautiful, and tremendously honest novel about a great love pushed to the edge. Deeply poignant and hugely entertaining, Next Year, For Sure shows us what lies at the mysterious heart of relationships, and what true openness and transformation require.
After years of serial monogamy, Chris has, he assumes, finally settled down with his girlfriend, whom he dubs "Kathryn the Amazing." Nine years into this relationship, however, Chris can't stop thinking about a vivacious, gregarious young acquaintance, Emily. With Kathryn's reluctant blessing, normally risk-averse Chris embarks on a relationship with Emily and tacitly encourages Kathryn to explore other relationships as well. This experiment in polyamory, however, soon highlights homebody Chris's weaknesses, not to mention his inability to forecast the potential pitfalls of such an arrangement. A certain amount of introspection is bound to accompany decisions as life-altering as those explored here, but at times the self-reflection and second-guessing threaten to entirely halt the narrative's forward momentum; the novel is almost entirely lacking in either humor or sexiness. The structural playfulness that characterizes many of the novel's later chapters offers some respite, but feels tacked on when compared with earlier chapters' more conventional storytelling.