This is an unusual book. It has two authors and its central characters are two authors who are having difficulties writing a book. While that may suggest that Wibberley and Siegesmund-Broka are describing a situation with which they are familiar, it does not predict the kind of writing that might keep the interest of a reader.
Nathan van Huysen and Katrina Freeling are the two fictional writers who previously combined to produce a bestseller sold in more than two dozen countries. At the end of their effort, they fall out, with the result that they refuse to appear together for interviews or publicity. The cause of their breakup is covered in flashbacks throughout the story, but in truth, it is far from clear what the reason was.
That original, successful book was part of a two-book deal, and neither of the pair has success after they break up and start to work on their own. Nathan's effort is turned down by his publisher who insists that the only way he will be published is if he gets back with Katrina. The forced co-operation takes some time to set up and, even though the pair share a house in Florida, they have great difficulty producing anything.
This is a romance novel, so you don't need to be either a genius or a cynic to predict the ending, though you might wish that the authors did not take so long to get to that point. The setting is America and we learn on the second page that Katrina has a psychiatrist whom she visits again after the two heroes mend their emotional fences. Perhaps the book could be treated as a study in the psychology of two creative but self-obsessed people.
There are lots of metaphors about love and longing and the desire for intimacy. "When my surprise wears off, the hurt seeps in, like my heart stumbled and skinned its knees." Later, when they are beginning to heal, we read, "If his eyes were the ocean before, now they're the midday sun sparkling off the waves".
Essentially, what we have here is two people writing a novel about two people who are writing a novel about two people going through a divorce. Because Wibberley and Siegesmund-Broka are a husband and wife, it is easy to imagine that the situations they describe are realistic. Their reflections on the writing process are passed to their characters. "Fiction comes from truth. No artist ever creates from nothing," we read at one stage. Until they finally begin to co-operate fully, Nathan and Katrina share their writing, passing pages under a door or forcing polite improvements, occasionally disputing a single word or expression.
Having two authors of a biography or a history book is not uncommon; there is little here to suggest that the same format succeeds in a work of fiction.
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