What if in the blink of an eye your entire life changed? What if one small step caused the world as you know it to disappear—your mind to fracture and for you to lose years of memories? The day Jodi set out to meet his best friend Sophie after saying goodbye to the man he had been living with and loving for the last five years, he had no idea that a freak accident would leave him in the dark—bereft of any idea what had happened not only in those last five years, but more. Now, learning to do the most rudimentary things like dressing himself, Jodi is terrified and lost and not sure who this man is who lives with him—this man who looks at him with eyes of pain and love.
Garrett Leigh’s new novel, What Remains, is a painful and yet gently caring look at the lengths one man will go to see the one he loves restored to the best person he can be—even if that means that person will never return the love he gives. When Jodi awakens from a months-long coma, he not only doesn’t remember Rupert, he also does not remember the years prior to him when he grappled with his sexuality and embraced the fact that he was indeed bisexual. His anger and abhorrence, aimed at Rupert, stems from so many confusing places and a certainty that he must be straight. But when his ex-girlfriend and still best friend helps him to realize they are no longer together, Jodi begins to experience seizures and further declines. So Rupert does what he must—hides the fact that he and Jodi had been more than flat mates.
Interspersed with looks back at how these two wounded souls met and lived, the story weaves in and out of the present day with great skill. Seamlessly, the author carries us from past to the here and now giving us gorgeous glimpses into how Jodi and Rupert fell in love and made a life together. When we came back to the current life they lead—the cold iciness of Jodi’s forgotten memories, my heart nearly broke for Rupert—yet he stoically persisted, loving Jodi, living a painful half existence, praying Jodi would recover and love him again. Just like when Jodi patiently taught the newly divorced and coming out Rupert the joys of two men sexually loving each other, the novel draws on that time in the most tender of ways to bring these two full circle. This novel was so well done—the characters flesh and blood, their pain palpable, and their love visceral. I highly recommend What Remains by Garrett Leigh to you—it is just fantastic!