A Sudden Gust of Gravity by Laurie Boris

This story is a love triangle between Christina, a hesitant magician’s assistant, Reynaldo the Magificent, her boss, and Devon, the resident doctor who suspects her bruises may not be the rehearsal accidents she considers them.

If you ever harboured a sneaking suspicion that a woman who gets into an abusive relationship has some kind of character flaw, you need to read this book. Ms. Boris’s point-of-view technique creates a stunning moment of empathy. First we see Reynaldo from Christina’s perspective, and we think we know him: handsome, talented, with the slightly grating but perhaps acceptable ego of a successful showman. Then the point of view switches. We see him from Devon’s perspective, and we get a completely different interpretation of the evidence, showing a much darker slant on his personality. And the thought suddenly dawns that we have been enthralled into his image exactly as Christina was. “So that’s how it happens!”

The villain is a complex character whose stage persona overshadows his private life, and so (especially since we saw him in a positive light in the beginning) we accept the rather nebulous way he ends up at the finish. It would be nice to be able to turn every antagonist into a pure villain, but Reynaldo (aka. Ralph) is not that easy to pigeonhole. His final act of what might have been atonement leaves an unsatisfied taste. But that’s how it works, doesn’t it? Does he really believe that all the dangerous stunts he pulls make the act more realistic? Was he really as bad as all that? Well…probably.

Because this is a love story, there is very little doubt in our minds what is going to happen in the end. But how it is going to happen is what keeps us entranced. Adding to the enjoyment is some carefully researched magic, in-depth characterization of the two main players, and some great secondary roles. It’s going to be a real challenge to find an actor to play four-year-old Small Lee when they make the movie version.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good love story or a good novel. Five stars out of five.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

 

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