Summary and book reviews of The Remedy for Love by Bill Roorbach

The Remedy for Love

by Bill Roorbach

The Remedy for Love by Bill Roorbach X
The Remedy for Love by Bill Roorbach
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2014, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2015, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp
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About this Book

Book Summary

The Remedy for Love is a harrowing story about the truths we reveal when there is no time or space for artifice.

They're calling it the "Storm of the Century," so Eric stops at the market for provisions on his way home from work. But when the unkempt and seemingly unstable young woman in front of him in line comes up short on cash, a kind of old-school charity takes hold of his heart - twenty bucks and a ride home is the least he can do, right? Trouble is, Danielle doesn't really have a home. She's squatting in a cabin deep in the woods, no electricity, no heat, nothing but the nearby river to sustain her. She'll need food, water, firewood, and that's just to get her through the storm: there's a whole Maine winter ahead.

So he gets her set up, departs with relief, climbs to the road, but his car has been towed with his phone inside, and the snow is coming down with historic speed and violence. There's no choice but to return to the cabin. Danielle is terrified, then merely hostile - who is this guy with his big idea that it's she who needs rescuing? As the snow keeps mounting, they're forced to ride out the storm together. For better and for worse. 

The Remedy for Love is a harrowing story about the truths we reveal when there is no time or space for artifice.

Excerpt
The Remedy for Love

The young woman ahead of him in line at the Hannaford Superstore was unusually fragrant, smelled like wood smoke and dirty clothes and cough drops or maybe Ben Gay, eucalyptus anyway. She was all but mummified in an enormous coat leaking feathers, some kind of army-issue garment from another era, huge hood pulled over her head. Homeless, obviously, or as homeless as people were in this frosty part of the world—maybe living in an aunt's garage or on her old roommate's couch, common around Woodchuck (actually Woodchurch, though the nickname was used more often), population six thousand, more when the college was in session, just your average Maine town, rural and self-sufficient.

Idly, Eric watched her unload her cart: he knew her situation too well. Sooner or later she'd be in trouble, either victim or perpetrator, and sooner or later he or one of seven other local lawyers would be called upon to defend her, or whomever had hurt her,...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. A plot can sometimes be thought of as a cascade of events. Can you trace the elements of that cascade here? Which moments could be considered points of no return? Upon which elements does the story primarily turn?
  2. Our protagonists meet in line at a grocery store, each with a basket of purchases that might or might not illuminate their characters. How do those purchases find their ways into the rest of the story? What role does food—buying, cooking, serving, eating—play in the novel?
  3. Eric and Danielle seem ill suited for one another on the surface, yet as events peel away their defenses and their social strategies, an essential compatibility is revealed. Or is it? Do you think there's a chance they will continue on beyond ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The premise is intriguing: two strangers, with nothing in common, are trapped together in a rustic cabin on the outskirts of a small Maine town, as "the storm of the century" rages around them. The set-up is easily believable, as is what transpires over the next few days. The writing is languorous and hypnotic, which works better for the intimate getting-to-know-each-other situation than the physical survival aspect of the story. There's a raw authenticity to the situation and the conversations, which makes it different than a typical romance novel.   (Reviewed by Sarah Tomp).

Full Review (942 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Roorbach does little to subvert the classic male rescue fantasy.

Booklist
Its lofty, Thoreau-based title aside, the novel spins a straightforward yarn that's part survival tale and part romance, complete with surreptitious glances and half-articulated desires. Roorbach does well in the limited space, keeping the narrative tight without being claustrophobic.

Library Journal
A gripping tale spun out of somewhat unlikely circumstances . . . highly readable, suspenseful, and well written. While infused with the flavor of rural Maine, the story transcends place and stereotypes and gets at the core of human love and grief.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. [A] superbly grown-up love story... Lyrical, reserved and sometimes unsettling... Another expertly delivered portrait of the world from Roorbach . . . that poet of hopeless tangles

Author Blurb David Abrams, author of Fobbit
One of the best novels of this or any year... A flat-out funny, sexy, and poignant romantic thriller.

Author Blurb Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars
The Remedy for Love is not the remedy for sleep deprivation. You'll stay up all night... It is relentless and brilliant... I'm not sure there's another American writing today who can lay down a love story, or any story, with the depth and appeal and freshness of Bill Roorbach.

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Beyond the Book

Blizzard Survival Stories

The weather and complications of a blizzard are intense and all-encompassing. Besides the potential for devastating winds and dangerously low temperatures, the overwhelming amounts of snow impede both visibility and access to travel. The results can be extensive and long-lasting. It can take days to weeks for roads to be cleared, and months for the snow to melt. One of the repeated recommendations for dealing with a blizzard is to stay put. Don't travel. After all, if one is caught in the storm, the risk for frostbite and/or hypothermia is high. Hypothermia leads to poor decision-making abilities, the illusion of heat and the intense desire to sleep, so once it hits, survival is even more unlikely.

But what if where you are isn't a safe...

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