Chicago, sometime. Two people meet in the armory of the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. After their meeting, those things do not change.
Everything else, however, is slightly different.
Both obsessive, eccentric personalities, Aldo Damiani and Charlotte Regan struggle to be without each other from the moment they meet. The truth – that he is a clinically depressed, anti-social theoretician and she is a manipulative liar with a history of self-sabotage – means the deeper they fall in love, the more troubling their reliance on each other becomes.
Title : Alone With You In The Ether
Author : Olivie Blake
Format : Physical
Page Count : 288
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Tor Books
Release Date : November 29, 2022
Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 3.5 – 4 star review
I’m finding this a difficult story to rate and I’m not convinced by my rating stil.
This story was a sweeping example of messy love. These characters of Aldo and Regan are consuming their complexity and problems. Both characters had diagnoses of mental illness, those illnesses while sometimes overwhelming, were not the sum of them. Regan by far was the most complex of the two and her chaotic take on life, sex, relationships and ethics had me reading through my fingers at times and gritting my teeth for the impending implosion but…(here is where you read the book for yourself).
Aldo seemed a little more grounded while still off in his world of theoretical mathematics and time. I liked him more than Regan even though I feel like this story reveals more of Regan. I totally got why these two worked at times and why they didn’t at others. It is hard to like or love these characters though.
There’s a definite irreverance for conventionality in this book and I really appreciated that element. There’s nothing linear about this plot or how it begins and ends; that’s its beauty. However, sometimes the chaos was confusing in moments and I didn’t always understand the why of these characters.
The author note at the end is utterly impactful and the more I think about the story and author note as I write this review, the more I think this might be nearer 4 stars than 3.5. Blake’s exposition at the end brings focus to the context and characters in a very real way. I respect her hugely for that.
Thank you to Tor Books and Black Crow PR for the review copy.