Excerpt from They're Going to Love You by Meg Howrey, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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They're Going to Love You

A Novel

by Meg Howrey

They're Going to Love You by Meg Howrey X
They're Going to Love You by Meg Howrey
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2022, 288 pages

    Sep 2023, 288 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Callum McLaughlin
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About this Book

Print Excerpt

"I understand," says James.

This is what I remember.

James is telling me about meeting Alex. We're in our usual positions at Bank Street, where my father and James live. (I don't live there, I visit.) Bank Street is what everyone calls the apartment, as if it were the only one on the block. It's the parlor floor of a four-story brownstone, the apartment purchased in 1975 by my father with money from an inheritance. James sits at the piano in the large front room, and I'm perched nearby, on the rolling library steps that serve the tall bookcases by the windows. The steps don't roll very well and have been much clawed by the cats.

I don't live at Bank Street, have never done so, but in my heart, this is my home.

James and I are family and not. Teacher-student, and not.

Confidants, and not.

I could be his daughter, but I'm not.

My father and James have recently started using the word partner for each other. James used to say companion. I've never heard either one use boyfriend or lover. They've been together for twenty-three years.

I love James very much. I love my father too.

Or: my father, I love, and James I sort of want to be. Maybe I mean: have? I'm twenty-four.

I haven't met Alex yet. I will soon.

"I'm not a young person anymore," James says. He folds his arms and frowns at the keyboard. "At a certain point—and I've reached it—you realize your moment has passed. You won't achieve those dreams of youth. You have to make new dreams. But I don't have any new dreams."

He plays a single note on the piano.

"It's not about me," he says. "It's wanting the things I care about to continue. To give that to someone else. Otherwise, everything I care about dies with me."

He plays a few chords. The piano needs tuning.

"That's not quite true," he says. "One wants another chance at things."

I think I understand about wanting another chance at things, and I'm only twenty-four.

"Oh, Carlisle." He almost smiles. "You know what's more terrible than giving up a dream? To discover you haven't."

He might be crying.

"It's not about this boy," he says. "You do see that?"

And then—

"Is it worth it? All this—" He shuts his eyes. "All this wreckage."

I'm not sure what he means by wreckage. Himself ? His career? His relationship with my father?

Perhaps he only means life.


It's a shocking phone call. Not because it's a surprise but because it's so close to what I expected. Things never happen exactly the way you envision, but this really is James, saying that Robert's health has been increasingly bad and now they're nearing the end. It's mostly a matter of making Robert as comfortable as possible. They are thinking in terms of weeks, not months.

Robert. My father.

Nearing the end. As comfortable as possible. Even the sound of James's voice saying Oh, Carlisle. I had them all right. Perhaps not so remarkable. These are the things one says.

James apologizes for calling so early. It's nine in the morning in New York, only six here in Los Angeles. I hadn't imagined that part. Time. The body understands whether it's morning or evening, but it doesn't always recognize the past from the present. I've had feelings about this phone call, for years. My body has already had this conversation.

I ask if Robert wants to see me.

"He's always wanted that," says James, on a sigh. "Only he painted himself into a corner. But what does that matter now?"

When did it ever matter? Still, I think I understand. Robert wants me to forgive him, but also to have it understood our estrangement is all my fault. He wishes none of it had happened but wants to keep all the emotions he got to have. He wants—

"You know Robert," James says.

It's hard to tell if I understand my father's nature or am projecting my own. I might know Robert because I've essentially become him. What's bred in the bone.

Excerpted from They're Going to Love You by Meg Howrey. Copyright © 2022 by Meg Howrey. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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