In this short but sweet novella, Wynn spins an enjoyable tale of lost souls colliding in the most unlikely of places.
Jaime is a lonely yet wealthy man living a leisurely, slightly boring, life in an inherited house by the sea in a small, remote Spanish village. While walking near his home, he sees a strange sight: a man parachuting from an airplane and landing a few yards in front of him, just before his plane crashes into the sea. Eventually, Jaime learns that the man, Stefan, is a wanderer like himself, only one who comes from a very different background. Through a strange series of circumstances, the two men find themselves doing what neither thought they would end up doing: trying to sell a large quantity of narcotics in a very short amount of time. Along the way, Stefan discovers that perhaps Jaime’s subdued, quiet way of living is just what he’s needed all along, and Jaime hesitantly longs for a taste of the adventures that Stefan has been struggling through all his days. Sometimes, as the novel shows, what we want isn’t necessarily what’s best for us. Though his writing is at times clunky, Wynn understands the value of honestly drawn and organic characters in moving along a plot that doesn’t quite end with a bang. In fact, the novella’s greatest weakness is its ending. Though the abruptness of the final pages fits the tone of the story, it’s a frustrating ending to a narrative that was just beginning to heat up. Stefan’s love interest comes out of nowhere and has the qualities of a deus ex machina. Still, there are real moments of beauty and wonder as well as passages that speak of Wynn’s ability to understand the inherent frailty of the human condition: “He felt like he was gradually being erased. As if his lack of meaningful human contact and lack of function was causing him to disappear, parts of him already transparent, holes that other people could see through. He was afraid that one day he’d look in a mirror and wouldn’t see anyone.”
Conjuring shades of Steinbeck’s meditations on nature, this enjoyable, pleasant yarn passes like the cool summer breezes described within its pages.