The BookBrowse Review

Published January 22, 2020

ISSN: 1930-0018

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The BookBrowse Review

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Editor's Introduction
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Book Jacket

The Regrets
by Amy Bonnaffons
4 Feb 2020
304 pages
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
ISBN-13: 9780316516167
Genre: Novels
Critics:
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Reality and dream collide in Amy Bonnaffons' 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.

"Bonnaffons' first full-length novel is a rare pleasure: a philosophical rom-com too weird, too bodily, too precise, too fun to get bogged down in trembling sentiment. Deep and deeply funny." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"The luminous prose is vibrant with penetrating observations, whether about moments that are a 'crucial node in the universe's vast plan' or about dying-with or without regrets. This sexy, witty novel about life, death, and love's power will enchant readers." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"This tight and lyrical debut novel follows the flawed members of a sticky love triangle...Bonnaffons has a deft hand for dialogue and character development, which grounds the fantastical nature of her novel in the sharp truths of real-life love and desire." - Booklist

"Boldly sensitive, sexy, witty, and sad - good lord, thank you, Amy Bonnaffons, for writing a book like a tonic for those of us who are painfully wide open to the world and 'fatally vulnerable to magic.' Readers will find themselves haunted by The Regrets long after putting it down." - CJ Hauser, author of Family of Origin

"The Regrets captures the bardo of love, a world where living flesh and ghostly projection are indistinguishable, as they often are in the yearnings, desires, and infatuations of our own waking lives."- Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces

"The Regrets examines the way wisdom can interfere with fulfillment and self-protection with the joy of living. It is somehow both sly and earnest, humorous and haunting. Bonnaffons reads like Haruki Murakami for the millennial generation; she is weird, tender, and full of magic." - Lucy Tan, author of What We Were Promised

Amy Bonnaffons is the author of the story collection The Wrong Heaven. She has an MFA from NYU and is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Georgia.

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