A book that is so bizarre, I truly have no idea how to tell you about it.
Olivay - Deborah Reed
We don’t believe that our lives can change in an instant—until they do.
Olivay, widowed for a year and sleepwalking through life, meets Henry by chance. She takes him to her Los Angeles loft, thinking it will just be for the night. But the following morning, bombs detonate across the city; mayhem and carnage fill the streets; and her loft is covered in broken glass and her own blood. Henry is skittish, solicitous, and strangely distracted. Who is this man she’s marooned with as the city goes on lockdown? Why is she catching him in lie after lie? Is he somehow connected to her husband’s death and the terrorist attacks outside?
With eloquent and suspenseful prose, Olivay explores the wreckage of loss and the collision of grief, desire, and terror in its aftermath. As the characters get pushed outside their comfort zones, forced to walk the thin line between destruction and salvation, Olivay keeps readers guessing what will become of Olivay and Henry until the very end.
Initial thoughts on this book is that it's bizarre. It's written in a way that the writing feels lyrical almost? But it's so incredibly slow and drawn out that many would give it up before anything worth reading started happening.
The basics are that we have Olivay, who essentially watched her husband die in her arms. She goes through a tenuous grieving process and by the time she ventures out, she meets Henry. Henry seems nice enough, and he turns into what she thinks is possibly a one-night stand. When he comes back later in the day, she learns that he hasn't totally been upfront with her, but before she can really delve into that, explosions happen, rendering them trapped in her apartment for days. Throughout that process Olivay becomes more suspicious of Henry and his actions. But while keeping her suspicions to herself, they both tell each other weird, sometimes disjointed pieces of information from their pasts.
There are times while reading this book where I felt like we were really moving towards something epic, and then... then we start hearing about a cat. It's really strange. I have to admit, when I started the book I really liked Olivay's character. Something about her seemed so endearing. Then as the story goes on I really started to hate her. She comes across as a very angry (maybe rightfully so) and kind of mean person.
I also didn't find the ending to be a "twist". I know that some readers are going to disagree with me, but I kind of felt it coming the entire time. Oh, can we also talk about how it feels odd that amidst all of the chaos and devastation just outside the door, these two are constantly on the brink of sex, having sex, thinking about sex, etc? It just feels... misplaced. Are we aiming for a weird love story, or are we supposed to be focusing on loss and grief? I wasn't sure but neither avenue felt right to me. I really struggled with this book to the end, but I stuck with it because I wanted to see if I was right about the ending and I was.
Overall, I'd have to give it 3/5 stars. It really was just OK to me. I didn't hate it, it is exceptionally written. It just didn't pull at me like I had hoped it would based on the back cover description. Olivay is available on Amazon for purchase. The author, Deborah Reed, also has a Facebook page that you can connect with her on.