The Regrets

Amy Bonnaffons. Little, Brown, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-51616-7
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. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/07/2019
Release date: 02/04/2020
Genre: Fiction
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