The Regrets
Reality and dream collide in Amy Bonnaffons's dazzling, darkly playful debut novel about a love affair between the living and the dead.For weeks, Rachel has been noticing the same golden-haired young man sitting at her Brooklyn bus stop, staring off with a melancholy air. When, one day, she finally musters the courage to introduce herself, the chemistry between them is undeniable: Thomas is wise, witty, handsome, mysterious, clearly a kindred spirit. There's just one tiny problem: He's dead.Stuck in a surreal limbo governed by bureaucracy, Thomas is unable to "cross over" to the afterlife until he completes a 90-day stint on earth, during which time he is forbidden to get involved with a member of the living -- lest he incur "regrets." When Thomas and Rachel break this rule, they unleash a cascade of bizarre, troubling consequences.Set in the hallucinatory borderland between life and death, The Regrets is a gloriously strange and breathtakingly sexy exploration of love, the cataclysmic power of fantasies, and the painful, exhilarating work of waking up to reality, told with uncommon grace and humor by a visionary artist at the height of her imaginative power.

The Regrets Details

TitleThe Regrets
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 4th, 2020
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
ISBN-139780316516167
Rating
GenreFiction, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Contemporary, Audiobook

The Regrets Review

  • Melki
    January 1, 1970
    "You're insufficiently dead," he said. "I'm what?" "Insufficiently dead. You lack rupture with your life. You have no exit narrative." Somebody made a mistake with Thomas Barrett, and, yeah, he's no longer really alive. In the traditional sense. So, he's sent back to earth for three more months, with a set of rules, something along the lines of this: Rules that, if followed properly, will keep Thomas from experiencing "the regrets." His interactions with the living are to be somewhat limited, "You're insufficiently dead," he said. "I'm what?" "Insufficiently dead. You lack rupture with your life. You have no exit narrative." Somebody made a mistake with Thomas Barrett, and, yeah, he's no longer really alive. In the traditional sense. So, he's sent back to earth for three more months, with a set of rules, something along the lines of this: Rules that, if followed properly, will keep Thomas from experiencing "the regrets." His interactions with the living are to be somewhat limited, so, of course, he meets the girl of his dreams, the only one with whom he shares complimentary weirdnesses. But, alas, TRUE LOVE is always a tricky thing . . . particularly when your heart's desire keeps fading in and out on you. I LOVED this one! Smart, funny, quirky, and touching, but with dark undertones - if you're looking for something unusual - this one should be the cup of tea that's right up your alley.
    more
  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    January 1, 1970
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/3.5 StarsWhat do I even say about The Regrets? Really the only way to even describe it for me is a “literary love story.” It’s certainly falls into the category of . . . . And it’s a little bizarre to me that the above blast from the past courtesy of Sade has her as a mermaid because even though it made me all . . . . The Pisces is another ill-fated little romance read that comes to mind when I think of who might want to give this Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/3.5 StarsWhat do I even say about The Regrets? Really the only way to even describe it for me is a “literary love story.” It’s certainly falls into the category of . . . . And it’s a little bizarre to me that the above blast from the past courtesy of Sade has her as a mermaid because even though it made me all . . . . The Pisces is another ill-fated little romance read that comes to mind when I think of who might want to give this one a go.The story here is of Rachel and Thomas. She sees him at the bus stop for weeks on end, always with a letter to mail. Eventually she decides to follow him and they ride all the way to the end of the line together. He informs her that some bad things have happened to him that he’s not allowed to talk about and that he will only be in town for about another month. Her best pal assumes he’s either married or a criminal. She has a moment that I have no idea was intentional or not, but very reminiscent of . . . And it truly tickled me. He has a set of rules that are supposed to be followed, much like . . . . But, boys will be boys and . . . . That leads to a whooooooooole nutha set of unforeseen complications.Again, not a book for everyone but I knew I wanted it as soon as I saw the cover. Absolutely no regrets here . . . ARC provided by Little Brown in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Bandit
    January 1, 1970
    This isn’t like any love story you’re likely to read. And not just because one of the lovers is dead. Technically ghost lovers have been done before (cue in The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody), but this is something radically new and strikingly good. The Romeo here is a recently dead man who due to a bureaucratic snafu in processing gets to have some more time on mortal coil, albeit circumscribed (no social interactions, daily reports, etc.). Eventually this gets to be unbearably tedious, This isn’t like any love story you’re likely to read. And not just because one of the lovers is dead. Technically ghost lovers have been done before (cue in The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody), but this is something radically new and strikingly good. The Romeo here is a recently dead man who due to a bureaucratic snafu in processing gets to have some more time on mortal coil, albeit circumscribed (no social interactions, daily reports, etc.). Eventually this gets to be unbearably tedious, like rules tend to, and he finds himself with a Juliet of his own, a young librarian with a questionable taste in partners. Love of books can send one dreaming of impossible romances, but eventually life sets in, especially when the entire affair has a rapidly approaching expiration date. Soon both find themselves holding on to something they really, really ought to let go off, albeit for different reasons. Love itself was easy enough, but moving on is going to be very difficult indeed. And so told from alternating perspectives, this is a story of two people and their brief passionate connection amid impossible circumstances. So as far as love stories go, that’s as epic as it gets…impossible circumstances. But there’s so much more here, it starts off in an offbeat manner of a dark comedy and slowly turns into something much more complex and involved, it’s a terrific character study and a clever (both metaphorically and observationally) take on relationships. It’s about social isolation and/or connectivity and choices one makes and, of course, regrets. A story about life, love and letting go…there’s that’s the generic tagline for the cinematic adaptation. It’s exceptionally well written (exactly the sort of writing that speaks to me), emotionally intelligent and very, very smart. The author’s had a collection of short stories (gotta find those) published, but this is her novel debut and what an auspicious debut it is. For me the narrative surpassed the characters and their eventual fates (as interested as I was in that), every so often a book just has that effect on a reader, the perfect engagement. So yeah. I loved this book. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
    more
  • Amy (TheSouthernGirlReads)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Libro.fm for the ALC.I’m not exactly sure what just happened there? I’m going to take some time to process before I attempt a rating and a review .Law, ok. Here goes. This book. Ummmmm. I have never read anything quite like it. I can't exactly put my finger on it but I didn't hate it....I didn't love it either so there is that. As I said before the writing is very well done. The premise? Fascinating. It just did not deliver for me. It was very dark and I get that it needed to be...but Thank you Libro.fm for the ALC.I’m not exactly sure what just happened there? I’m going to take some time to process before I attempt a rating and a review 🤔.Law, ok. Here goes. This book. Ummmmm. I have never read anything quite like it. I can't exactly put my finger on it but I didn't hate it....I didn't love it either so there is that. As I said before the writing is very well done. The premise? Fascinating. It just did not deliver for me. It was very dark and I get that it needed to be...but it just didn't work.I think I am going to have to settle on two stars and say....you might perceive this book very differently than I did. Worse case scenario it's a short read that will make you think.
    more
  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    After reading Amy Bonnaffons’ short story collection – The Wrong Heaven – last year, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her first novel. This is an author whose imagination knows no barriers, sort of like Karen Russell or Yoko Ogawa, but in her own unique way. My only qualm is how she would handle the hackneyed subject of a woman in love with a ghost. I shouldn’t have wasted a minute in worrying. This book is highly original, inventive, witty, perceptive, and (can’t resist) haunting. I guess you After reading Amy Bonnaffons’ short story collection – The Wrong Heaven – last year, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her first novel. This is an author whose imagination knows no barriers, sort of like Karen Russell or Yoko Ogawa, but in her own unique way. My only qualm is how she would handle the hackneyed subject of a woman in love with a ghost. I shouldn’t have wasted a minute in worrying. This book is highly original, inventive, witty, perceptive, and (can’t resist) haunting. I guess you could say I really liked it.Here’s the premise: as a result of an “institutional” error, Thomas Barrett, who has died in a car crash, is sent back to earth for 90 days while his death is being processed. Of course, he must follow certain guidelines such as staying clear of past connections and not engaging in sexual activity. Otherwise, he will incur onerous “regrets.” Thomas does fine until he happens across a librarian named Rachel Starr – and the attraction between the two is other-worldly.Ms. Bonnaffons wisely does not dive too deeply into the “whys and hows” of death (Thomas begins to dissolve into insubstantiality and the two must creatively deal with these mysterious disappearances). The reason is that the book isn’t really about death; it’s about living fully in reality. At one point, Rachel states, “It’s like I can’t tell now who’s the ghost: him or me. I just sort of float through life but I’m totally apart from it, like there’s a glass between me and the world.”In any relationship, the author seems to suggest, are holes that open up – a yawning blackness, an unshareable knowledge – and each of us fears being swallowed up in it. The Regrets demands a certain immersion on the part of the reader, a willingness to suspend belief and enter, feet first, into the imagined world that is created here. Reading The Regrets is certainly time worth spent. Thank you to the publisher, Little Brown, for making this enchanting book available to me in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
    more
  • Morelia (Strandedinbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    Y’all had me at “ghost sex”. And there’s like...a LOT.This story just had me so entranced. It is entirely metaphorical and I think that’s why I couldn’t stop listening to the audio? It was odd, yes, but it was such a fucking interesting way of touching on toxic relationships and how they tend to displace you and are able to distance you from your loved ones. I mean, maybe that’s what it’s about. I’m sure everyone takes away something different from this book, but that just adds to the beauty of Y’all had me at “ghost sex”. And there’s like...a LOT.This story just had me so entranced. It is entirely metaphorical and I think that’s why I couldn’t stop listening to the audio? It was odd, yes, but it was such a fucking interesting way of touching on toxic relationships and how they tend to displace you and are able to distance you from your loved ones. I mean, maybe that’s what it’s about. I’m sure everyone takes away something different from this book, but that just adds to the beauty of it!I really did think this book was beautiful in all of its oddity and I loved it.
    more
  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    January 1, 1970
    via my blog:https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/“You’re insufficiently dead,” he said.“I’m what?”“Insufficiently dead. You lack rupture with your life. You have no exit narrative.”This is a playful story about being dead and being alive. It’s just a state, really. Thomas Barrett has been trapped in nothingness due to some… mistake. He is insufficiently dead according to his visit to ‘the office’ and for the time being will exist in a state most will never have the chance to experience. via my blog:https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/“You’re insufficiently dead,” he said.“I’m what?”“Insufficiently dead. You lack rupture with your life. You have no exit narrative.”This is a playful story about being dead and being alive. It’s just a state, really. Thomas Barrett has been trapped in nothingness due to some… mistake. He is insufficiently dead according to his visit to ‘the office’ and for the time being will exist in a state most will never have the chance to experience. Returned to earth with the living for a window of three months, he has rules that if he doesn’t follow will incur ‘regrets’. He’s best to forget the heaviness of his other life, and just enjoy his time in the new one, as much as a person who doesn’t actually exist can. He must learn to let go of the past, the old life, that is for all intents and purposes extinguished.Thomas first notices the girl at a coffee shop, captivated by her. He decides a ‘harmless crush from afar’ won’t incur regrets, nor harm anyone. Something about the girl with her dark hair, glasses, how she “doled out her attention” pulls him in. Unbeknownst to him, she doesn’t fully exist either, but her error is loneliness and not death. The reader is introduced to Rachel who first notices Thomas at the bus stop, who seems to have some strange energy about him and, she notices, wears the same outfit every single day. Free of romantic entanglements for a year, she works as a reference librarian enjoying the fantasy of love and how it should be more than it’s actual crushing reality. A daydreamer, who has ‘fallen in love with her own dreams’, the object of her fantasy is now the electric man at the bus stop. Catching sight of him fuels her desire that seems to ‘encompass the world’. Will it last? Or will her bubble burst? Despite her best efforts to ignore her wild attraction, a meeting takes place and so begins one strange romance between a man and woman who compliment one another in an impossible love story.There is so much about himself he must keep hidden and not for the usual reasons men remain mum. He truly is not at liberty to tell her, but when his body begins to betray him revelations are impossible to avoid. Being with Rachel feeds the wish for Thomas to be more present, but it is a race against time. Rachel herself seems to be disappearing more in Thomas who is much like a daydream and nightmares haunt her sleep… love as mystery. But what will become of Rachel, is it possible she too could be on some strange edge of existence?I enjoyed this novel, it’s a romance but the life vs death theme, the exploration of individual separateness and all that entails, made it a bit more meaty. Thomas may be insufficiently dead, but is Rachel insufficiently alive? Are many of us? Delightful.Publication Date: February 4, 2020Little, Brown and Company
    more
  • Elaine
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of The Regrets. I was so excited when my request was approved.I love ghost stories, the darker, macabre, and scary, the better. The Regrets was more than that, though, not what I expected, but not in a bad way.When Thomas is prevented from achieving his proper death due to bureaucratic red tape, his respite on earth for a few more months is shaken by the appearance of a young, beautiful woman named Rachel.The two of them begin a strange, wondrous, Thank you to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of The Regrets. I was so excited when my request was approved.I love ghost stories, the darker, macabre, and scary, the better. The Regrets was more than that, though, not what I expected, but not in a bad way.When Thomas is prevented from achieving his proper death due to bureaucratic red tape, his respite on earth for a few more months is shaken by the appearance of a young, beautiful woman named Rachel.The two of them begin a strange, wondrous, convoluted, powerful but dangerous relationship that threatens Rachel's tenuous hold on herself, humanity and her place in it.The author writes beautifully, including metaphors that straddle the line between tenderness and wit, hilarious dark comedic outlooks on life and the blunt, realistic descriptions of sex and lovemaking.Actually, I was kind of surprised by how often sex is discussed. I was thinking of blood and ghosts, scares and thrills when I read the blurb, but that's just me. I'm a female Tim Burton.But, I began to understand all the references to sex, because making love and intimacy is affirming you are alive, not dead. Lovemaking and sex is the antithesis to death. It is one of ways we feel alive, when we are with someone else in the most intimate of ways. And yes, sometimes we seek sex just to connect in a world that's increasingly difficult to find someone to connect with.I had hoped for more exposition on the business of death, such how a mistake like what happened when Thomas was young (no spoilers here!) could happen. I mean, when you think about, how can a bureaucracy get something wrong that happens all the time for millennia 24/7?I guess I answered my own question. It's a bureaucracy.The Regrets isn't just about the regrets we all have in our life, no matter your age.It's about the letting go. Moving on. Which is always easier said than done.And the first step is always the hardest.Letting go isn't just releasing all the mistakes and deeds you wished you hadn't done or had done. It's about being kind to yourself, to remember that we're human. We make mistakes. And we can go on if we give ourselves a chance. And taking a chance is scary. Like life.But, life is for the living so live while you can.
    more
  • Racheal
    January 1, 1970
    I really love all those beautifullycrafted slice-of-life styleobservations that are prevalent in literary fiction, but I just can't seem to get excited aboutthem unless they're in the contextof someweirdo fantasy setup. In that regard thisbook was just *chef kiss*perfect.The story follows Thomas, a guy who had an encounter with an angel as a kid when the angel mistook him for a different boy she was there to collect. When he dies for real many years later, the angel that comes for him is I really love all those beautifully crafted slice-of-life style observations that are prevalent in literary fiction, but I just can't seem to get excited about them unless they're in the context of some weirdo fantasy setup. In that regard this book was just *chef kiss* perfect. The story follows Thomas, a guy who had an encounter with an angel as a kid when the angel mistook him for a different boy she was there to collect.  When he dies for real many years later, the angel that comes for him is (whoopsie!) the same angel, and it creates all sorts of clerical errors in the afterlife. Now for the next three months he's stuck on Earth in a body that looks like his but isn't, unable to contact people from his past life or make new connections lest he incur the dreaded "regrets". Complications happen, of course, in the form of Rachel, the girl at his bus stop who he becomes a little obsessed with.So first off, I (obviously) loved the writing in this- there are so many choice nuggets peppered throughout that the screenshots folder on my phone grew significantly over the course of the book. I loved the flawed characters and how they reacted within this strange context. I loved the odd, floaty charm of it all, and the low-key humor that had me smiling on more than one occasion. I will say that I think this started a lot stronger than it ended, and part of that comes down to a narrative shift about halfway through the book that I don't think was totally successful. The momentum slowed down at that point and I ended up putting it down for a few days before picking it up again. I'm glad I did go back, though, as I do think it comes back around in the end and I found myself overall satisfied with where it all went. Overall, though, I just really liked this book. Even though I'm not going to be going around telling everyone that they ABSOLUTELY MUST READ IT, I feel this soft spot inside that's filled with nothing but a warm, pleasant fondness for it.
    more
  • Kristi
    January 1, 1970
    I haven't done this in quite some time but after making it over halfway through this audiobook (88%) I had to give this up and just stop torturing myself. Sadly, the narrator is quite monotone, reminiscent of Ferris Bueller's Economics teacher and the story? I legit don't know what in the hell is going on here. Maybe I'll give it another chance at a later date but for now it's a hard pass from me.Thanks to Libro.fm and Hachette Audio for the ALC, but it just wasn't for me.
    more
  • Esmée
    January 1, 1970
    The Regrets starts with laying out what happens after you die. I loved the strange angels that tell you that you don't want to incur regrets. It sounds scary and weird and like a challenge for our main character.But the book changes perspectives, going to the girl who falls in love with the not-yet-dead boy and then we learn about her ex-boyfriend and the atmosphere of the book changed here for me. I thought it was going to be more about the afterlife and less of an uncomfortable love story. I The Regrets starts with laying out what happens after you die. I loved the strange angels that tell you that you don't want to incur regrets. It sounds scary and weird and like a challenge for our main character.But the book changes perspectives, going to the girl who falls in love with the not-yet-dead boy and then we learn about her ex-boyfriend and the atmosphere of the book changed here for me. I thought it was going to be more about the afterlife and less of an uncomfortable love story. I think the start doesn't set the right tone and it made me a little disappointed with how the story ended.I do think this is a good book for lovers of Halle Butler or Sally Rooney. I thought it was similar in tone and in bad love stories, but then with a slight fantasy twist.I listened to an ALC that I received through Libro.FM
    more
  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    A LOVE AFFAIR BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, WHAT. I WANTTTTPLUS THAT IS A GREAT COVER
  • Storiesandcoffee
    January 1, 1970
    "In my defense: is there a form of love that's not a welcome unraveling?"I can tell the extent to which I will love a novel by the amount of notes I jot down while reading. By page 90 of The Regrets, I had two full pages of notes, and I didn't plan on slowing down. With my trusty Sharpie pen in hand, I went on to write even more quotes, key words, and all the emotions this story evoked in me.This is a ghost story. It is also a romance---sensual and at times unflinching in the candid ways in "In my defense: is there a form of love that's not a welcome unraveling?"I can tell the extent to which I will love a novel by the amount of notes I jot down while reading. By page 90 of The Regrets, I had two full pages of notes, and I didn't plan on slowing down. With my trusty Sharpie pen in hand, I went on to write even more quotes, key words, and all the emotions this story evoked in me.This is a ghost story. It is also a romance---sensual and at times unflinching in the candid ways in which Bonnaffons describes the sexual encounters between the two main characters. But at it's core, what really shook me---rattled me---was the honest portrayal of a destructive relationship.When Rachel falls in love with Thomas, she is aware he is already dead, and yet she can't let him go. With their sexually charged connection that is consuming and isolating, she believes he is her daydream come to life. But she knows nothing about his pervious life; his real life. She doesn't know he was cynical, at times callous, and had no idea how to be in a happy, healthy relationship. As Rachel begins to yearn for a real connection, one that she can share with her friends, one that involves actually seeing and touching another person, Thomas begins to haunt her, staking his claim on the only link he has to the real, living world.As Rachel's relationship with Thomas progresses, she slowly forgets who she is. She forgets what she wants. She forgets how to feel. And Thomas knows he can control her. He knows he can interfere with her happiness because no one can stop him. We all live with the ghosts from past relationships, in a sense, whether we allow them to haunt us or not. That was my biggest take away from this novel. Every ex, every past lover, leaves their mark on us. Some fade away with time while others carve a deeper scar. Some of our ghosts are happy to leave us alone, but in some scary, tragic situations, some ghosts refuse to be ignored. The Regrets explores that tragedy in an unconventional yet poignant way.Look, in the name of being honest, I'll say this: this book is straight up weird. Quirky. Unusual. It has an indie feel, and a lot of times there is very little dialogue and pages of interior monologues. (Very similar to Normal People in this way.) But if you give this little novel a chance, really allow it to push your boundaries and flood your mind with it's dark absurdism, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I know I sure was.4/5 stars, only because I wanted a little more from the ending.**A big thank you to the publisher for a gifted finished copy. All opinions are my own.**
    more
  • Cindy Wilkerson
    January 1, 1970
    What an odd, little book.When I first spotted this at my local bookstore, I knew I had to read it. Something about the cover, and also the fact that it’s about a young woman falling in love with a dead man, waiting to cross over to the other side. There is a danger to daydreaming. It’s not that the daydream bears too little relationship to reality. It’s the opposite: the daydream can create reality. It can become so powerful that it transforms the face of the world, then encounters its own image What an odd, little book.When I first spotted this at my local bookstore, I knew I had to read it. Something about the cover, and also the fact that it’s about a young woman falling in love with a dead man, waiting to cross over to the other side. There is a danger to daydreaming. It’s not that the daydream bears too little relationship to reality. It’s the opposite: the daydream can create reality. It can become so powerful that it transforms the face of the world, then encounters its own image and falls in love with itself.THE REGRETS was about finding human connections, how our dreams, when they do become reality, often times don’t match up with what we had imagined. And as cheesy as it sounds, it’s about letting go and learning to love yourself. The bulk of the book was kind of heavy (with a bit of humor sprinkled in for good measure), but when I finished, I felt light and full of hope. I think I loved this book and all of its weirdness.
    more
  • Evan
    January 1, 1970
    The beginning of this gave me the wrong impression. I expected it to be a funny/sad book about life after death, but it's less fun than that. What could have been an interesting book turns into something about young, white, urban people and honestly that is a very uninteresting topic. The plot explanations are lazy, the characters are lazy, even the ghost is kind of lazy. I feel like this book had promise and somehow got steered into the completely wrong direction.
    more
  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    4.5. This was weird.... in the most delicious way.
  • Andrienne
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very strange story that mixes in the supernatural, but that’s not the point. The point is to write a book about desires, about existing, about the bigger questions about life. Here is the kind of literary fiction that I crave-the words sing, the ideas sear and it leaves an impression that you weren’t expecting and didn’t think you’d appreciate so much. Thank you to the publisher for the advance reading copy.
    more
  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    Well, that was interesting. I really liked this book, but it was completely different than I thought it was going to be. In a good way - but still very different. I think the book was really elevated by the introduction of a third character in the last third or so of the story. It was all very introspective and weird which is just right up my alley!
    more
  • Asha
    January 1, 1970
    Well this was a strange book! But I really enjoyed it. A seemingly “simple” love story between a woman and a dead man who hasn’t yet crossed over. It touched on loneliness, possession, obsession, and accepting your reality. It’s so weird that I don’t really know who I would recommend it too, but definitely give it a try!
    more
  • Auderoy Lin
    January 1, 1970
    QUOTES:That's the best part of being single. Farting with impunity.Most people don't notice most other people. Most people don't notice much of anything. Their lives fit them too snugly; noticing requires space.Life, no matter how raw and fragile and doomed, will do what life does: reach out toward other life.In my defense: is there a form of love that's not a welcome unraveling?How about that. We've got complementary weirdnesses.We generally expected little from other humans besides absurdity. QUOTES:That's the best part of being single. Farting with impunity.Most people don't notice most other people. Most people don't notice much of anything. Their lives fit them too snugly; noticing requires space.Life, no matter how raw and fragile and doomed, will do what life does: reach out toward other life.In my defense: is there a form of love that's not a welcome unraveling?How about that. We've got complementary weirdnesses.We generally expected little from other humans besides absurdity. As a result, we were rarely disappointed.It is a disease of girls who spend lots of time alone, reading books and making up stories; they grow up to be women with intense dream lives and daydream lives, who sometimes confuse their private reality with the shared reality of others.I occasionally felt bad about this difference between us--about the way I reliably failed to inhabit a moment, instead hovering outside of it, catlike, waiting to isolate and pounce on a tellable detail.I believe in free will, not in fate. But will doesn't operate in a vacuum. Sometimes other people's are stronger than yours, and your will has no grounds for resistance.And so the zoo became my gap year, and the gap became two years, then three. Slowly my life became one big gap. It yawned wider and wider every day.It's like I can't tell now who's the ghost: him or me. I just sort of float through life but I'm totally apart from it, like there's a glass between me and the world.Only I could extinguish the dying embers of the daydream. To claim my own selfish, boring, pointless life as though it were my only treasure--because, in fact, it was.
    more
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the first half of this quirky, sexually-charged book, but the last half wasn’t as interesting and the end fell flat for me.I received an advanced listening copy in exchange for my honest review.
  • Chelsea Bruning
    January 1, 1970
    One of those dark, quirky novels that I eat right up. It’s so off-the-wall that I wouldn’t know who to recommend it to, but I enjoyed the writing style and the creativity behind it.
  • Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely loved this one! I listened to the audio but kinda want to read a physical copy too. Fresh & weird— just how I like my books. Absolutely loved this one! I listened to the audio but kinda want to read a physical copy too. Fresh & weird— just how I like my books. ☺️
    more
  • Jordan
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't expect to fall so wildly in love with this novel, which explores so many themes, from what it means to be whole, to how much we give and take in relationships, to what it means to be real. The language is lyrical but playful, the characters morose yet philosophical, and despite so much playing with death, there's a lightness to the story. My only frustration was that Thomas' story didn't conclude internally, where we could see it/experience it--it was summarily explained to us through a I didn't expect to fall so wildly in love with this novel, which explores so many themes, from what it means to be whole, to how much we give and take in relationships, to what it means to be real. The language is lyrical but playful, the characters morose yet philosophical, and despite so much playing with death, there's a lightness to the story. My only frustration was that Thomas' story didn't conclude internally, where we could see it/experience it--it was summarily explained to us through a character who was himself a bit too convenient in his ability to fix the problems ailing Rachel. Nonetheless, I loved it.
    more
  • Haru
    January 1, 1970
    It started off really well - interesting, unique, and satirically funny! But somewhere around the 3rd character's introduction/story/plot/section (whatever), it started to slow down and the descriptions of certain activities (ie. sex and relationships) became a bit repetitive. At first the writing and story was humorous and even quite shocking but eventually it lost it's satirical charm and just felt tiresome. Being such a short read, I stuck with it and I'm glad I did because I really did like It started off really well - interesting, unique, and satirically funny! But somewhere around the 3rd character's introduction/story/plot/section (whatever), it started to slow down and the descriptions of certain activities (ie. sex and relationships) became a bit repetitive. At first the writing and story was humorous and even quite shocking but eventually it lost it's satirical charm and just felt tiresome. Being such a short read, I stuck with it and I'm glad I did because I really did like how the author wrapped up the story. It felt complete but I did feel that this could have been made into an even shorter novel all while still accomplishing the same ending/goal.
    more
  • Ross Cohen
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting story, marred by tonal inconsistencies.
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to BiblioFinder and Little, Brown for the free copy. All opinions are my own.I'll be thinking of about this strange and compelling story for a long time to come. It's such an interesting take on relationships, on connection, on grief and death. It blurs the lines of reality in so many ways, and yet I found so much to be relatable in how these characters interacted and connected and came apart. Appropriately for the subjects of this book, is has this hazy, dreamy feel where truth lies Thanks to BiblioFinder and Little, Brown for the free copy. All opinions are my own.I'll be thinking of about this strange and compelling story for a long time to come. It's such an interesting take on relationships, on connection, on grief and death. It blurs the lines of reality in so many ways, and yet I found so much to be relatable in how these characters interacted and connected and came apart. Appropriately for the subjects of this book, is has this hazy, dreamy feel where truth lies under the prose. Despite it's depth I found it a quick read. This would be an interesting one for book groups- a lot to talk about with death and dreams.
    more
  • Laura Mills
    January 1, 1970
    (Note: I wrote this review 30 minutes after finishing this book, so these are my unfiltered post-book thoughts) Wow. Just freaking WOW. This book is weird. Like possibly one of the weirdest books I've ever read. It's surreal and philosophical and very sexual. And I LOVED it.I read Amy Bonnaffons' short story collection, The Wrong Heaven, last year and loved it cautiously. It's not the kind of book you hand to people and say here, read this, because you have no idea if they're going to read it (Note: I wrote this review 30 minutes after finishing this book, so these are my unfiltered post-book thoughts) Wow. Just freaking WOW. This book is weird. Like possibly one of the weirdest books I've ever read. It's surreal and philosophical and very sexual. And I LOVED it.I read Amy Bonnaffons' short story collection, The Wrong Heaven, last year and loved it cautiously. It's not the kind of book you hand to people and say here, read this, because you have no idea if they're going to read it and be like, "Why did you give me a book where women turn into horses (or have sex with angels or talk to lawn ornaments, etc)" I was cautious, too, because I didn't know if she could pull off that alchemy between strangeness and reality in a novel-length story. I mean, just getting a reader to suspend their disbelief for the length of a normal not-super-weird novel is a Herculean task.I think what I love about her writing is the way she perfectly balances weirdness with truth. Or maybe it's wisdom or relatablity (though I hesitate to say I "related" to any of these characters...yikes). But either way she counters all the strangeness with these little persistent kernels of truth-with-a-capital-T. They kind of sneak up on you when you least expect them and suddenly you're nodding your head yes, I know, of course, at the same time that something utterly bizarre is happening to the characters. I honestly don't know how she does it. It's some kind of alchemy or magic or something. This book comes out February 2020. I'll come back to this review then and see if my thoughts are still the same, but for what it's worth now: this book is an experience I'm glad I had. Even if it was a very bizarre experience.PS. Oh, and did I mention this book is funny? I laughed out loud. A lot. Sometimes at the absurdity, sometimes while shaking my head at some sentence Amy Bonnaffons had the gall to write, sometimes just because it was actually, completely, old-fashionedly comical. How does she do it?? I'll never know.
    more
  • Tess
    January 1, 1970
    THE REGRETS was such a fantastic and unexpected little novel. I feel like I can sum this book up as the perfect explanation of why daydreams coming to life isn't always what you hope for. Thomas has died, but due to some clerical errors, he hasn't died completely and still has to roam the earth as a not quite fully formed human until he can get to heaven. Rachel, a librarian who lives a quiet life in Brooklyn and is known for daydreaming and falling for emotionally unavailable men, has an THE REGRETS was such a fantastic and unexpected little novel. I feel like I can sum this book up as the perfect explanation of why daydreams coming to life isn't always what you hope for. Thomas has died, but due to some clerical errors, he hasn't died completely and still has to roam the earth as a not quite fully formed human until he can get to heaven. Rachel, a librarian who lives a quiet life in Brooklyn and is known for daydreaming and falling for emotionally unavailable men, has an instant connection with Thomas and they embark on an ill advised love affair. Yes, there is "ghost sex" and yes, it is intense and very well written. The chemistry between Thomas and Rachel is undeniable and sparks literally fly between the living and the dead as they come together. But Thomas is unreliable, as he physically disappears often and without warning, and tells Rachel from the beginning that he will leave soon but she does not know when or why. It is the perfect analogy for an intense love affair where the other person isn't quite there (emotionally or physically) but the love is intense and when he does disappear, he still sticks around as a ghostly figure you don't know how to get rid of. The story is real and the explanations of death are believable, but it is not a ghost story in the bigger sense of the word. It is about coming to terms with fantasy and dreams and then learning how to live in the "real world" once those fantasies have been shattered or once your daydreams are not what you expected.THE REGRETS is really beautiful -- the writing is lyrical and surprising, and the story moves fast and unexpectedly. Doomed love affairs have always been a draw for me, and this is a modern and fantastical take that I really enjoyed. Highly recommend this book when it comes out in February 2020.
    more
  • Anneke
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review: The Regrets Author: Amy BonnaffonsPublisher: Little Brown and CompanyPublication Date: February 4, 2020Review Date: February 27, 2020I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.From the blurb: “Reality and dream collide in Amy Bonnaffons's "dazzling," wildly inventive "miracle of a love story" about an affair between the living and the dead (NPR)For weeks, Rachel has been noticing the same golden-haired young man sitting at her Brooklyn bus Book Review: The Regrets Author: Amy BonnaffonsPublisher: Little Brown and CompanyPublication Date: February 4, 2020Review Date: February 27, 2020I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.From the blurb: “Reality and dream collide in Amy Bonnaffons's "dazzling," wildly inventive "miracle of a love story" about an affair between the living and the dead (NPR)For weeks, Rachel has been noticing the same golden-haired young man sitting at her Brooklyn bus stop, staring off with a melancholy air. When, one day, she finally musters the courage to introduce herself, the chemistry between them is undeniable: Thomas is wise, witty, handsome, mysterious, clearly a kindred spirit. There's just one tiny problem: He's dead.Stuck in a surreal limbo governed by bureaucracy, Thomas is unable to "cross over" to the afterlife until he completes a 90-day stint on earth, during which time he is forbidden to get involved with a member of the living -- lest he incur "regrets." When Thomas and Rachel break this rule, they unleash a cascade of bizarre, troubling consequences.Set in the hallucinatory borderland between life and death, The Regrets is a gloriously strange and breathtakingly sexy exploration of love, the cataclysmic power of fantasies, and the painful, exhilarating work of waking up to reality, told with uncommon grace and humor by a visionary artist at the height of her imaginative power.”I LOVED Amy Bonnaffon’s collection of short stories, The Wrong Heaven, published back in mid-2018. I was in awe of the stories, and her writing. Way, way outside the box. So when I heard she was coming out with a novel, I was in BEG mode on NetGalley. Not that anyone could tell my simple request to read this book was a BEG.But then, as I read the book, I became disoriented. Stuck. I got lost. Couldn’t follow the plot. This one was way too outside the box for me. I have been putting off forever writing this review, though I gave up on the book months ago. However, I still would highly, highly recommend this novel, to people who might be better readers than I am. I take all the credit for not being able to complete this book. As in Amy’s short stories, the language and imagery was breath-taking. It was the plot that I got lost in. So, please have a go at it, if this kind of advanced speculative fiction is what you like. Thank you Little, Brown and Company for giving me early access to this novel. Good luck to Amy Bonnaffons with her literary career. This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads, and Amazon.#netgalley #littlebrownandcompany #theregrets #amybonnaffons
    more
Write a review