John Toomey, in his second novel, has staked out territory that is difficult for any writer to traverse: how to tell a tortured love story when neither of the two characters possesses the ability or inclination to reflect on their behavior?
In circumstances all too familiar for many of us, Vic meets and falls in love with Lali, only to discover that what attracts him to her is also what will make the relationship impossible. Only Vic’s friend, James, seems to have the capacity to figure out what goes on between the two of them, but fails repeatedly to persuade Vic to get out of the relationship. An Irish student alone and lonely in London, Vic sees at first meeting all that he should need to see about Lali, but accomodates himself to her in what will turn out to be an increasingly destructive relationship.
Bereft at the end, with only his daughter to make life at all worthwhile, Vic seems determined to go on, despite not understanding or accepting what has happened between him and Lali. This is a love story played out in the way that many people experience such relationships, without ever having answers to the endless whys they are left with.