- We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu
Trade ed. ISBN 9781728216591 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9781728216607 $17.99
Reviewed from digital galleys Ad Gr. 9-12
Noemi is still getting texts from Link, who drowned in a forest where there was no water. Jonas is new to town, and madly in love with distant Noemi. Amberlyn is caught between grieving for her dead brother and feeling the stirrings of love for a close female friend. Everyone struggles to continue their lives, as an ominous force continues to threaten fates similar to the one Link suffered. A significant amount of introspection, bordering on the self-indulgent, underpins this supernatural mystery as the readers turn over questions of sexual and personal identity, life, and loss, and explorations of drowning, both metaphorical and literal. The “murderer” is unexpected, [End Page 138] and the reveal opens many more paths for musing about what it means to be alive or dead. The pace is unfortunately glacial, with dreamy passages that loop back to where they started. However, thoughtful readers who themselves might spend hours contemplating how being asexual would actually work in a relationship with someone who is not, whether forests could be living entities, or whether we are maximizing our potential in our connections with others if we aren’t being our full selves may forgive the digressive quality. There is an elegance and poignancy that may create an emotional pull to see this novel through to the quiet end.