Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Before, During, After, by Richard Bausch

 photo 18473919_zps19e261f3.jpg

Synopsis: When Natasha, a talented young artist working as a congressional aide, meets Michael Faulk, an Episcopalian priest struggling with his faith, the stars seem to align. Although he is nearly two decades older, they discover in each other the happy yearning and exhilaration of lovers, and within months they are engaged. Shortly before their wedding, while Natasha is vacationing in Jamaica and Faulk is in New York attending the wedding of a family friend, the terrorist attacks of September 11 shatter the tranquility of the nation’s summer. Alone in a state of abject terror, cut off from America and convinced that Faulk is dead, Natasha makes an error in judgment that leads to a private trauma of her own on the Caribbean shore. A few days later, she and Faulk are reunited, but the horror of that day and Natasha’s inability to speak of it inexorably divide their relationship into “before” and “after.” They move to Memphis and begin their new life together, but their marriage quickly descends into repression, anxiety, and suspicion. 

Thoughts: This is a very different sort of love story. Michael and Natasha meet and become engaged prior to 9/11, and that day finds them separated---he in NYC, she in Jamaica. Because of something that happens on that day, there are secrets between them, which result in tension, frustration, and anger.

As much as I enjoyed this book, I had a few complaints about it. The phrases "babe," "my love," etc., were used too often for my taste. We know the main characters are in love, but we also know they have a certain amount of emotional distance between them, so the endearments seemed a little forced through much of the book.

The other issue is the amount of seemed that everyone always had a drink in their hand, and the main characters spent a LOT of time drunk. 

I was slightly disappointed in the ending, as well...but I have hopes that it means there might be more to the story of Michael and Natasha in the future.

My rating: Four stars

No comments: