This Close to Okay

Leesa Cross-Smith. Grand Central, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5387-1537-6
Cross-Smith (So We Can Glow) explores fragility, grief, and the effects of mental illness in this wonderfully strange novel about new love between broken people. Tallie Clark is a divorced, childless therapist who sees a man about to jump from a bridge on her way home one night. She pulls over and talks him into joining her for a cup of coffee, then invites the man, who goes only by Emmett, to stay at her house. In the days that follow, Tallie and Emmett learn about each other’s divorces and the deaths, infidelities, and heartaches that have shaped their lives. All the while, Cross-Smith builds suspense by gradually alluding to each character’s ulterior motives as Tallie neglects to tell Emmett she’s a therapist, and Emmett emails Tallie’s ex-husband to get her the answers he thinks she needs. Alternating between Tallie and Emmett’s perspectives, the narrative cannily inhabits a space where Tallie calls danger a “frothing aphrodisiac,” and the two characters at times learn, or fail, to cope with sorrow and depression. As dark and tense as it is flirty and humorous, this moving novel offers consistent surprises. Agent: Kerry D’Agostino, Curtis Brown. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/07/2020
Release date: 02/02/2021
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-6297-8
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-5387-1536-9
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