How will brittle, needy, fanciful Evvie cope when her husband Ben falls out of love and leaves her? Badly, is the answer, in this sensitive, offbeat second novel.
We know breaking up is hard to do, but it’s harder still if you are Evangeline (Evvie) Muldoone, burdened by fears of abandonment and "magnificent vulnerability." You’ve spent 16 happy years in Pittsburgh with Ben, variously working a pushcart together selling Middle Eastern food, laughing, sharing music, but now Ben has changed, he’s no longer charmed by your preoccupation with animal rights or your tendency to procrastinate. And he’s met someone else, Lauren. Switching between Evvie and Ben’s perspectives, McCafferty (Thank You for the Music, 2004, etc.) captures Evvie’s ditzy, thin-skinned eccentricity and Ben’s cooler isolation as their lives diverge, hers deeper into dreams of making a film about a convenience-store clerk and his into more conventional happiness with Lauren. Tragi-comic in tone, the novel offers some nicely observed insights into guilt and despair—"He was tired of the prison of his old affection"—until heartbreak and delusion lead to an act of lunacy that will redefine the landscape.
Everyday tragedy takes a surreal spin in this slight but soulful, idiosyncratic tale.