The Universe Doesn’t Do Second Chances. Sean-Paul Thomas. Tirgearr Publishing. September 2013. 248 pp. Available in e-book format. ISBN #: 9781301590612.
The unnamed narrator of our story spends the initial pages ranting about what a loser he is with women. He has lots of things he plans to say but never says them. He admires two particular women on a plane, both of whom he describes as very attractive, sexy gals but he seems paralyzed to act on his best intentions. Then things change quite dramatically. As the plane plunges the narrator to his death, he’s not doing the “life in a flash” routine but thinking about all those regrets about women he failed to embrace wholly.
No death descriptions follow, just a surrealistic awakening in a daze as Liam, our narrator, begins to describe a lovely story about a woman named Alexandra whom Liam meets on a bus. Is it real, a dream, a fantasy? You the reader must decide. Liam is on his game with Alexandra. Yes, he almost blows this chance as well but finally in a fortuitous moment they connect and Liam describes how he woos her. First they travel to all the loveliest, historic, and cultural places in Edinburgh, Scotland that make the reader want to visit there because of Liam’s short but intriguing descriptions. Their conversation is witty, sarcastic, intellectual, sad, and finally endearing. They’ve both made their mistakes in love and both have enough differences to spark the interest of the other. This budding relationship goes where we think it will and then something occurs that the reader may think inevitable, contrived, or excruciating – depending on one’s own propensities and beliefs about true, undying love!
We then read about one of Liam’s first real teenage love, Sarah. We share their wild, daring adventures as Sarah is a feisty, tomboyish girl who thinks nothing of scaring the daylights out of Liam, looking out for worms and other creatures, discovering a stash of wine, enjoying a playful yet titillating kiss, and more. But the stories that they share are sad indeed in between the child-like scenes. The balance is perfect and quite memorable! After they lose each other through a violent battle involving Sarah’s father, they meet again later and part.
We all learn to love; it’s not an innate skill that automatically blossoms! It’s mixed with the ups and downs of gritty life and to be eagerly anticipated and embraced at each opportunity that appears. This is Sean-Paul Thomas’s motif told in roller-coaster fashion at times and others like a smooth, graceful ride down a Viennese canal, true romance! But who’s to say what’s true and what’s all wrong? This unusual novel will entertain you but also leave you reflecting about your own love journeys that didn’t happen but happened. It’s a reflection on making sense out of what seems impossible – it’s love!
Very nicely crafted contemporary fiction, Sean-Paul Thomas!