The evocation of love is spoken through three voices in a plot that explores this emotion in all its aspects from true love to lost love and intertwined with the tantalising nirvana of ideal love.
The key protagonists are engaged in a love triangle whose emotional apex is Venus, the possessor of a hypnotic voice whose oral beauty perfectly complements her physical charms. Gilles is portrayed as an uncompromising romantic, a latter day Byron with an unwavering belief in a love for a woman he barely knows which is at odds with the emotionally innocent Alex patiently waiting for an unselfish love which is inevitably constrained by the feelings of others.
The dialogue and recollections could easily be construed as the musings of an author’s muddled mind as the reader is moved unprompted from one scene to the next but what this actually does is convey the confusion of love as conflicting feelings and watershed moments often overlap to reveal a human landscape of light and grey with the truth seemingly hidden just out of reach.
The author’s ability to take us into the psychology of love and humanise the experience through sympathetic characters adds flow and meaning to the search for a fictional idyll which inevitably becomes compromised by individual flaws and imperfections.
The book is uplifting in depicting the joy of experiencing true love first hand but also stalked by the frustration of what might have been as the love lorn Alex and inconsolable Venus attempt to feel their way through the emotional fog caused by unexpected death of Gilles and the unanswered questions it provokes.
Lies, disbelief, and the silence of the dead inexorably erode the ideal of true love but the resilient desire to embrace this emotion enable the three voices to be heard and for life to carry on.