Secrets, passion, betrayal…
Coming back to his childhood home after years of absence, Ben is unprepared for the secret, which is now revealed to him: his mother, Natasha, who used to be a brilliant pianist, is losing herself to early-onset Alzheimer’s, which turns the way her mind works into a riddle. His father has remarried, and his new wife, Anita, looks remarkably similar to Natasha–only much younger. In this state of being isolated, being apart from love, how will Ben react when it is so tempting to resort to blame and guilt? “In our family, forgiveness is something you pray for, something you yearn to receive–but so seldom do you give it to others.”
Behind his father’s back, Ben and Anita find themselves increasingly drawn to each other. They take turns using an old tape recorder to express their most intimate thoughts, not realizing at first that their voices are being captured by him. These tapes, with his eloquent speech and her slang, reveal the story from two opposite viewpoints.
What emerges in this family is a struggle, a desperate, daring struggle to find a path out of conflicts, out of isolation, from guilt to forgiveness.
Where does the title, Apart From Love, come from?
The word Love is used sparingly in the novel, which makes it ever more precious. The title comes from a phrase used three times in the story:
After a while I whispered, like, “Just say something to me. Anything.” And I thought, Any other word apart from Love, ’cause that word is diluted, and no one knows what it really means, anyway.
Why, why can’t you say nothing? Say any word–but that one, ’cause you don’t really mean it. Nobody does. Say anything, apart from Love.
For my own sake I should have been much more careful. Now–even in her absence–I find myself in her hands, which feels strange to me. I am surrounded–and at the same time, isolated. I am alone. I am apart from Love.
Targeted Age Group: 16 and up