My Review:Leo Brice is dead, in a sense (not the traditional one). When the neurotic law student meets his cosmic match in Fiona Haeberle, an impulsive spirit and burgeoning soap star, all seems well—the two fall fast in love, and spend three years navigating their twenties in wide-eyed wonder. But once the fantastical woman who had defined his future bolts to pursue a fantasy life of her own, Leo is forced to come to terms with a reality that more closely resembles an epilogue than the story he’d hoped it might be. Now a junior death row advocate, Leo immerses himself in the esoteric world of his condemned client, a born-again Georgia inmate named Michael Tiegs. As both men become consumed by the question of an afterlife—and as Leo becomes increasingly confused by his own future and past—Tiegs’ fate hangs in the balance. Leaning on his friends and grappling with his memories, Leo must try to save a client who may not want to be saved after all, even as he struggles to confront the prospect of his own mortality.
At once obsessively readable, philosophically probing, and verbally acrobatic, The Life of the World to Come announces Dan Cluchey as a fresh new voice in fiction.
This was a WoW pick for me and I so wanted to like, if not love, this one. While there were a few beautiful passages, the lack of plot and character development ultimately made this an unenjoyable read for me. This was also a case of trying way too hard -- not only in its diction but also in its desire to be something it wasn't. The entire book focuses on the MC's break-up with his perfect actress/manic pixie dream girlfriend, Fiona. He is obsessed with Fiona and the break-up and it interferes with his newly passed bar status as a lawyer working for a non-profit to help those people sentenced to death. I thought there would be more law, so to speak, but I didn't need that to be satisfied. Instead I would have just needed something genuine besides some twenty-something obsessing over a break-up in light of the real world creeping in and in spite of having an opportunity to do something meaningful. We don't fully understand the connection between Leo and Fiona, just that it's supposed to transcend all space and time. Not to give anything about the tiny "law" subplot away, but there was also a seriously cheap shot at the end that didn't need to be included -- it was almost as if the author were trying to assuage some guilt, some feeling you may have when finishing this book for the way things turn out and I wish the author would have just left us with that feeling rather than making things safe. The real world isn't safe.
Love may be a planet. It may be something ancoral, something firm and steady and muzzled by its own gravity. It may be snug. But what good is love if it isn't also unrestrained? If it isn't supernatural? What good is it if it doesn't course through space and time like a fucking rocket ship, blitzing Heaven and bewildering Earth, not terra firma but terra incognita, raining bright issles down upon the cozy planets below? What good is it if it isn't Heaven?