Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Length: 8 hours, 27 minutes
After Felix is one of my favorite books from Lily Morton’s overwhelmingly wonderful catalog of stories. From the moment I read it, this book took a place toward the top of my list of her work due to the delightful characters and rich, beautifully developed relationship. The story divides roughly in two parts, the first focusing on the Felix and Max meeting and growing their friendship, sexual relationship, and romantic feelings. Then, the second portion of the book is the aftermath of their break up and watching the men find their way back to each other again. I love the set up here, as we know from the start (and the blurb) that there will be a breakup, so it is poignant (and sometimes painful) as we watch the men fall for one another, knowing all the while they are headed for trouble. That said, this book is funny and wildly entertaining, as well as surprisingly light given the set up of the story.
While the first half of the book is told only from Felix’s POV, in the second portion we hear narration from both of them, which really works well. It gives us a chance to get in Max’s head and understand his thoughts on it all. But Felix is our main POV character and he is just so delightful and entertaining. For me, Felix ranks probably second only to Oz in terms of my favorite of Morton’s characters. And I love the way Max is sort of charmed, challenged, and exasperated by Felix in all the best ways.
This story is the third book in the Close Proximity series, but can easily be read as a standalone if you don’t mind the occasional cameo from an unknown character. You can check out my full review of the book from my initial reading with a lot more detail on my thoughts.
I listened to this in audio with narrator Joel Leslie and his performance here is just excellent. Leslie is a frequent narrator for Morton’s books, so it works particularly well in a story like this where we have side characters who show up from different books and series. This story is so much about tone, that playfulness between the men compared to the poignancy of their breakup, and Leslie really gets that tone so perfectly. There is such great spirit in his narration for Felix, really capturing his charm and lightheartedness, that brash bravado that covers for the hidden vulnerability. Max, too, is so well narrated as we get all that emotion as he works through his feelings for Felix, but also that sharpness and intensity to his personality. The two are so quick witted together and I feel like this narration really brings these characters to life so well. I loved this story in both formats, but if you enjoy audio, I can highly recommend giving this story a listen.