The Lovers by Vendela Vida is a raw, intimate look at one woman’s struggle with grief and change. This novel is honestly a bit uncomfortable at times and a bit unsettling because there is virtually no wall between emotion and action. What the reader sees/feels is fluidly what Yvonne the main character is feeling/experiencing at that very moment. Virtually nothing is left hidden or unspoken. It is interesting however, how in spite of this, I still felt as if I could never really figure out Yvonne and was rather indifferent to her throughout the story.
After the death of her husband Peter and the realization that her adult children don’t need her to function, Yvonne travels to Turkey. She chooses Turkey not only because she and Peter had vacationed there together, but also because she is looking to make sure that she herself is still alive. While she is in Turkey, Yvonne discovers secrets about others, makes a few friends, and develops a peculiar relationship with a young boy who sells seashells.
When tragedy strikes and Yvonne is on site, she loses the composure and strength she seemed to acquire while traveling. Instead of reclaiming herself, she then turns the opposite way and needs to rely on others to help her recover from her unraveling.
The Lovers was a tough read. While it was quick and fluid, I never really related to Yvonne, championed for her, or really held much interest in her tale; the surroundings and other characters in the story held more of an interest to me. While I understand that this may be because Yvonne was so transitional in the story and in her own life, I could not get attached to her character. I found myself paying more attention to Vida’s beautiful descriptions of the landscape, architecture, and other people in the story.
I would be interested in reading other books by Vida as I did like her writing style, and would be curious to see what she could do with a main character that is more appealing.
In addition to working on her own personal writing, editing Messy Magazine, and writing for multiple sites, Lauren is also currently pursuing her MFA in English. More of her work can be found at goldiesays.wordpress.com.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Ecco. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.