Email this review


High-strung young man grappling with grief and possibly supernatural incidents tries to pull himself together in Farber’s quirky psychological potboiler.

This we know: Sid was with Zoe, but Zoe is now gone. But where exactly is she? Sid has reason to be confused, what with the steady stream of postcards from exotic locations that he continues to receive from his one-time girlfriend. Is she on an extended world tour, or writing from the beyond? Mind you, Sid might not be the most reliable narrator of events. The spirit of his dead mother communicates with him via an old bottle of Bordeaux, and he digs a mud “spa” in his yard that looks suspiciously like a grave. He also confides (to a point) in his no-nonsense sister Natalie, a busy physician expecting her first child who seems weary of Sid’s issues. Suspecting that his problems might be physical, she encourages him to undergo a CAT scan. But while waiting for the results, he jets off to Europe to see if he can get to the bottom of the Zoe mystery. Back home, he pieces together memories of a trauma and talks to his dog Zero. Candyce, a chatty hipster who works for his doctor, pursues Sid while he pines for a tranquil mystery woman he spies in his yoga class. He names her Jane, and she haunts his dreams; then a coincidence brings them together. Sid’s various demons continue to torment him, though, and he needs to come to terms with some hard truths about himself before he can embrace new love.

A witty, tormented hero surrounded by fascinating, compassionate supporting characters makes this slender debut a surprisingly compulsive read.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-183447-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2010