Editor and blogger Grose’s (Sad Desk Salad, 2012) second novel skewers yoga and guru culture, taking readers into the mysterious happenings at a secretive New Mexico cult.
When New York lawyer Dana Morrison sees her husband Ethan’s face on the cover of the New York Post, she hasn’t seen him in five years. It takes a moment for the headline to register: “Nama-Slay: Yoga Couple Found Dead in New Mexico Cave.” Needless to say, she’s not the other half of the yoga couple, though she’s technically still Ethan’s wife. This situation seems rife with dramatic potential, but the novel ultimately doesn’t make much of it. Dana’s sense of loyalty sends her straight to the place where Ethan died, determined to clear his name after an investigator raises the possibility that the deaths were a murder-suicide. Once she’s there, Ethan’s voice becomes part of the story thanks to a book he wrote explaining the failure of their marriage. His words alternate with Dana’s present-moment reactions to what he’s written. Late in the novel, one character says “Woo! That felt good. It can be good to retell your story. In the act of retelling, our bitterness becomes smaller and smaller, until it is the size of a flea, and we can flick it away.” Unfortunately, that kind of retelling and explaining doesn’t make for great fiction. Throughout, the prose lacks the imagery and action that bring stories and characters to life. Instead, it reads like an interminable phone call with a friend rehashing her breakup, which doesn’t leave readers pulling for the dead, disillusioned husband or the abandoned wife.
This book leaves readers wanting more than what they get—a dull he said, she said recap of a failed marriage, with a few satirical laughs along the way.