I have been reading Matt Freese’s works for a good few years or so. And I always look forward to delving into his latest work. Freese’s writing is deliberate and honest, it has nothing to prove and I like the essay like forms his chapters take. This latest novella is on a grim subject.
Freese lost his wife of two years a couple of years ago. She suffered greatly in her last days and through this work, Freese tries to reconcile with his memories of her. It reminded me very much of A Year of Magical Thinking, in its tackling of grief head on, and the void the loss of a loved one leaves. And similar to Didion, Freese too does not find much comfort in the younger generation, who are either estranged or indifferent.
Through all his works, the author’s style has become more and more polished. And looking back at his earlier works, it is evident that now, the gel of flashback and present moulds better together. It is a thought provoking read that touches upon many themes – the idea of finding love later on in life, what it means to be married for such little time, and the human bondage of relationships. It is also a reflective book in a sense, as the author freely delves into his past as well as Nina’s.
With the nights drawing in so fast this far north, it is a good time to slow down and reflect. I can’t say this was an easy read, but it was most certainly, a rewarding read. And from the little I could garner of Nina through the pages, I sense that she would deem that a success.