Reality and dream collide in Amy Bonnaffons's "dazzling," wildly inventive "miracle of a love story" about an affair between the living and the dead (NPR)
For weeks, Rachel has been noticing the same golden-haired young man sitting at her Brooklyn bus stop, staring off with a melancholy air. When, one day, she finally musters the courage to introduce herself, the chemistry between them is undeniable: Thomas is wise, witty, handsome, mysterious, clearly a kindred spirit. There's just one tiny problem: He's dead.
Stuck in a surreal limbo governed by bureaucracy, Thomas is unable to "cross over" to the afterlife until he completes a 90-day stint on earth, during which time he is forbidden to get involved with a member of the living -- lest he incur "regrets." When Thomas and Rachel break this rule, they unleash a cascade of bizarre, troubling consequences.
Set in the hallucinatory borderland between life and death, The Regrets is a gloriously strange and breathtakingly sexy exploration of love, the cataclysmic power of fantasies, and the painful, exhilarating work of waking up to reality, told with uncommon grace and humor by a visionary artist at the height of her imaginative power.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Amy Bonnaffons’ oddball novel gives new meaning to being “ghosted.” The story revolves around two alienated young Brooklynites, Thomas and Rachel, who meet at a bus stop and plunge into an all-consuming relationship that pretty much does them in. Along the way, Bonnaffons’ characters have crazy dreams, encounters with ex-loves, and lots of mystical and supernatural experiences. The Regrets is sexy, spooky, and a quick read that perfectly evokes Thomas’ rhetorical question, “Is there a form of love that’s not a welcome unraveling?”
Bonnaffons's wonderful debut novel (after the collection The Wrong Heaven) is a tale of ghostly love and passion. Thomas Barrett has died, but there has been an "institutional error," and he's been returned to Earth for 90 days to live an odd pseudo-life until they whoever "they" are can receive him. He's given guidelines that explain how he can reduce the possibility of regrets while he awaits death, such as avoiding connections with his previous life and resisting sexual contact. Thomas respects the advice until he meets Rachel Starr, a young librarian he first spots in a New York coffee shop. Rachel is drawn to Thomas, too, and they become intensely involved during Thomas's final weeks. However, Thomas begins to have episodes of fading, first with large holes temporarily appearing in his body, and then an overall increasing insubstantiality. As Thomas's days on Earth wind down, the two bittersweetly make the most of their time together. The tension of an ephemeral romance and impending loss will keep readers turning the pages, and the luminous prose is vibrant with penetrating observations, whether about moments that are a "crucial node in the universe's vast plan" or about dying with or without regrets. This sexy, witty novel about life, death, and love's power will enchant readers.)\n
Riveting from start to end
I simply could not put this book down. Every chapters ending begged me to read the next chapters beginning. This is what every author dreams of and Amy did it.