The Art of Regret: A Novel

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Trevor lives in Paris as a part-time photographer and the owner of a bike-shop. He spends his time sleeping with women, fawning over his sister-in-law, and trying to pay the bills. His aspiration to become a photographer was stunted by a mysterious accident. So too was his passion for life curbed by the early and tragic death of his father and sister. The book is in two parts. The first section is set against the backdrop of the 1995 French Transport strike, the second takes place five years later.

Despite having a lovely setting and what should be interesting characters (ex-patriots and artists, people marked by tragedy), the book can drag. This is not because the protagonist, Trevor is unlikeable. It is that his unlikability is, at times, his primary characteristic. This is not to say Trevor is totally uninteresting or that he does not develop, it is that he does so at a miserably slow pace for most of the book, and then, seemingly all at once. The first person narrative makes Trevor’s voice inescapable, which wouldn’t be so bad except that he has a tendency to tell us rather than show us his reactions to many of the plot’s main events. This has the effect of leaving very little up for interpretation and even less room for surprise. Still, Fleming manages to achieve what I feel is the ultimate mark of a good writer. Several days after having finished this book, I kept thinking of lines from it, quirks of characters and small details that stuck with me. Though the story itself nor its characters (the anal brother, the misunderstood playboy, the hated step-father) are original, the book itself is a fast and overall rewarding read.

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Star Count 3.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher She Writes Press
Publish Date 2019-10-22
ISBN 9781631526466 Buy this Book
Issue December 2019
Category Popular Fiction


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