I was very excited at BEA this year to hear that Bill Roorbach had a new novel coming out; I loved Life Among Giants. This is The Remedy for Love, and it held up to my own hype.
Eric's personal life is a bit of a mess. His wife is touch-and-go on the whole being-married-to-him thing, and while he is good at his job, he has been alienating a few people as of late in his small New England town. Right before what is being dubbed the "storm of the century," he heads to the grocery to buy his version of victuals. Only the homeless girl in front of him can't quite afford what she has put on the counter. After he buys it for her, he takes her to her little cabin in the woods--soon to find he is stuck there for the storm. Who is this girl who calls herself "Danielle"? An even bigger question: Who is Eric?
Ok, so, for the record, I love Roorbach. I just do, and while you may think that this may color this review a bit, it wasn't until after I read this book that I knew for sure that I am a fan of Bill Roorbach, not just a book or two. He has a way of weaving stories that seem at first to be so simply intriguing and then end up grabbing you by the scruff and dragging you into his storytelling car, only to peal away and somehow make you appreciative for being kidnapped. I was nose-deep in this story from the first page, almost bordering on thriller-like.
Eric is a fascinating character, a bit self-absorbed and recognizing it. At first I believed that he wouldn't actually keep helping this woman, a woman who doesn't want his help and asks him to leave multiple times. The more he helped, the more I wanted to reach into the pages and slap the ever-loving crap out of him. SHE DOESN'T WANT HELP, I wanted to scream. But we all know that he has to, as this is the crux of the story. It also created a compelling character in Eric, and I found myself caring about him and his safety, wanting him to either get home or to convince Danielle to let him stay the night out of the storm. And you know what happens when you care about a character...
It's hard to know what to believe in this story, but the more of the night that goes by, the more fascinating these two become. What's more, the more fascinating all of the characters that you never meet become. Eric's ex-wife, Danielle's maybe-husband (it's always hard to tell what is the truth and what is all in her head), the vindictive veterinarian, the principal who loved and hated her. It's a novel that keeps your brow furrowed and, in turn, keeps you coming back for more.
All in all, I find Roorbach's novel to be fantastically lovely.
Hard copy for purchase below.