From internationally bestselling author Benedict Wells, a sweeping novel of love and loss, and of the lives we never get to live
“[D]azzling storytelling...The End of Loneliness is both affecting and accomplished -- and eternal.”—John Irving
Jules Moreau’s childhood is shattered after the sudden death of his parents. Enrolled in boarding school where he and his siblings, Marty and Liz, are forced to live apart, the once vivacious and fearless Jules retreats inward, preferring to live within his memories – until he meets Alva, a kindred soul caught in her own grief. Fifteen years pass and the siblings remain strangers to one another, bound by tragedy and struggling to recover the family they once were. Jules, still adrift, is anchored only by his desires to be a writer and to reunite with Alva, who turned her back on their friendship on the precipice of it becoming more. But, just as it seems they can make amends for time wasted, invisible forces – whether fate or chance – intervene.
A kaleidoscopic family saga told through the fractured lives of the three Moreau siblings, alongside a faltering, recovering love story, The End of Loneliness is a stunning meditation on the power of our memories, of what can be lost and what can never be let go. With inimitable compassion and luminous, affecting prose, Benedict Wells contends with what it means to find a way through life, while never giving up hope you will find someone to go with you.
Wells's satisfying first book to be translated into English hints at an answer to a struggle most people confront being, or feeling, alone but ultimately suggests there isn't one. The story is the account of three siblings: Jules Moreau, the narrator, and his older siblings Liz and Marty. The trio lose their parents in a car accident when Jules is 11, and all move from Munich to boarding school. They grow apart; Marty throws himself into his studies, and Liz falls in with a fast crowd. Jules retreats into himself, until he meets Alva, another child dealing with family troubles of her own. Alva and Jules are inseparable for years; but when their friendship hints at becoming romantic, Alva balks for reasons even she can't articulate, and they fall out of touch. Jules tells his story retrospectively, until his narration catches up to his present, in which he is drawn back into Alva's complicated life when she unexpectedly answers an email of his and invites him to visit her. Touching and timeless, the story is expertly and evocatively rendered, in prose both beautiful and sparse enough to cut clearly to the question at the novel's heart: how one copes with loss that isn't or doesn't have to be permanent.