It’s the final hours of Godard’s online fundraising campaign. He’s waited for years, through film school, storyboarding with his long time boyfriend, and a job he doesn’t want to be able to direct his movie. Godard’s a few thousand dollars short when it all comes to an end. But, it’s not just the funding that falls through, it’s his entire life.
With Godard stinging from rejection on all sides, his sometime nemesis, sometime friend, and former lover, Jordi, offers to fund the project. The first catch is that the film will be shot in Spain. The second catch is that Godard will once again have to work with wealthy, controlling Jordi, something he swore he would never do again. But, with his emotions swirling, Godard packs up and heads to Spain.
Godard is still completely unsettled as he tries to adjust in a new country where he doesn’t speak the language and the sun sets on the wrong side of the ocean. He fills his days with his dream project and his nights with the music from the local jazz clubs. There’s one musician in particular, Ángel, that draws Godard time and again, and Godard longs to touch the God of Jazz. What starts as pleasure-filled trysts turns into sensual, passionate longing. But Ángel hasn’t revealed all of his secrets and Godard’s project is tied to Jordi, and Jordi is used to always getting what he wants.
Varian Krylov was responsible for my first true book hangover and this time is no different. Krylov writes with an intelligent, witty voice that gives her characters life. From the beaches to the jazz clubs of Barcelona, her words are visual and descriptive, which enabled her to transport me to this world.
The story is told through Godard, who is at a crossroads in his life. He desperately wants to direct the film he has been working on for years and just when he thinks it might be within reach, all of his dreams implode. Godard is witty and sarcastic and confident, yet he’s also a pulsating ball of anxiety. This anxiety is ratcheted up in small increments by Jordi as he swoops in offering Godard his dream. Godard knows, he knows accepting Jordi’s offer is a bad move, but he so badly wants to direct his film and feels he has nothing left to lose.
Arriving in Spain, Godard meets Ángel. Beautiful Ángel who gets under, through, and around Godard’s skin from the first glance. Ángel loves the frantic, erotic chase between him and Godard, but he also longs for someone to simply be still with. While Godard thinks Ángel is seducing him, we come to realize that for Ángel, the seduction goes both ways. It’s the worst time for Godard to meet someone, the timing is all wrong, but this is the time they were given. The chemistry between these men is seductive and sultry as Ángel slowly takes Godard apart. Krylov is masterful at writing intimate moments as each scene goes on for pages and pages while simultaneously increasing the blazing intensity with each breath.
Krylov expertly weaves in two additional stories alongside the relationship between Godard and Ángel. There is the movie Godard is directing and with apparent insider knowledge of the movie industry, Krylov offered concise, detailed insight into the process. She also allowed us to glimpse the telling of the movie with a plot that was equally as captivating as the main story. She also skillfully entwines Jordi’s story as she cleverly lays a foundation for his character only to increase the severity of his presence with every scene. At first Jordi simply intrigued me, but then he became the character that begrudgingly stole every scene he was in as he purposefully keeps the entire story off balance and the culmination was exceptionally explosive.
Krylov has stated that this is the lightest book she has written and while that may be true, there are certainly darker themes here that worked for me on every level. She writes unique storylines with intriguing characters with prose that evokes mood, emotion, and atmosphere. I usually move quickly from one book to the next, but this author always makes me want to stay and linger and she always makes me yearn for more. Krylov could do no wrong with this book as she wrings out heartbreak, uncertainty, insecurity, loss, and despair, but ultimately delivers a remarkable love story.