Friday, February 15, 2013

GL Roberts - Light and Shadow

Award winning architect Cody Andrews was in a relationship moving out of control. Although his partner loved the fast life in LA, Cody wanted to slow it down and try to enjoy life with his partner. After two years of fighting, Cody found that all he could do was leave the relationship to save his sanity and self respect. Moving out of LA seemed to be his best bet, so he bought an abandoned lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest and left his high powered life behind. Fixing up the lighthouse is enough to keep Cody’s mind occupied enough to forget everything he’d left behind, then he meets Nick Stanton.
Nick Stanton and his partner Ray leave Chicago for a relaxed vacation on the Oregon coast. For Nick, it’s a time to reconnect with his partner and mend their ailing relationship; for Ray, it’s a tiresome getaway with little-to-no excitement. While Nick tries to enjoy the coastal surroundings, Ray begs to go someplace with a hopping club or a circuit party. And then they meet Cody.
When they meet, Cody finds Nick and Ray to be a reminder of his own failed relationship. But Cody misses interacting with gay men, and finds Nick enjoyable and Ray to be tolerable. But the more time he spends with them, the more volatile Ray becomes. For Ray sees that Cody has everything Nick longs for, and everything Ray does not want. On a rain soaked and windswept highway a decision is made, and the lives of three men are tossed about like a tiny boat on an angry sea.

Comment: I've decided to read this story because I saw a review of it in Hilcia's blog and it seemed the kind of story I'd like to read, so I didn't think twice and bought it last month so I could get to it in this one.

This is the story of Cody, as we see most things from his point of view although the story isn't in the first person narrator. Cody Is now renovating a lighthouse in the pacific northwest after leaving LA because of the end of his two year relationship with his partner. They wanted different things and Cody felt he couldn't take it anymore, so he left.
While thinking his life is quite good as it is, one day he meets Nick and they seem to feel attracted to each other right away. But Nick isn't single, in fact he has a boyfriend much like Cody's ex partner and it looks like things are rocky but he doesn't want to be the one to break them. Still, they ave so much in common, could it be possible to change the way things are?

First of all, this is a short story and it focuses more on feelings and decisions than sex or romance. I was quite glad that they didn't jump into sex because the tone of the story is more thoughtful, emotionally driven and it would be "wrong" to mix sex in there.
This is the first story by the author I tried so I can't compare it to other things, but from a relatively delimited point of view, I thought it was a strong story, very introspective and touched one or two issues I was quite interested in.
First, the theme, lighthouses, I like stories about them and the history part combined with the coincidences - or not - of both main characters connection to the lighthouse in cause was a huge interesting part of the story for me. It was obvious the author knew or researched lighthouses and how they are supposed to work to make Cody's work as an architect seem more realistic. I liked this a lot.
Then, there's the take on how relationships should be balanced and communicative. It was obvious Nick and Ray didn't have that much in common anymore, their goals were different, their temperaments, their ways of seeing how life should be was the same with Cody and his ex partner, the same kind of challenges and situations.. I guess this was done on purpose by the author so the reader could see the perfect connection between Nick and Cody? I don't know, in a way I don't think it was necessary, but I get it, it certainly made things easier. Still, the issues on how to deal with a relationship, the hard times when someone gives something up and how far can someone go on limiting their own was very interesting and it made me eager to keep reading. Then something happens with Ray and from then on I think the story kind of lost some strength, but the point was taken.
In the end, I liked it yes, very good in the explanations and the descriptions, but I think it could have been a bit better in terms of action. Still, a good characterization for me and I'll look the author's work in the future, for sure.


  1. Sonia, I agree. I loved some aspects of G.L. Roberts' writing. She definitely transported me to the Oregon Coast with her description of that small town, the lighthouse etc. Also the characters and what they were going through kept me reading.

    But, I found that there was too much narrative (or telling and not showing) in key spots later in the story, and yes. . . the situation with Ray (in my way of thinking) took something away from Nick's character (strength of character, I think).

    I'm definitely going to look for Roberts' work in the future, though. As you say this was her first novel and a mixed bag, but there's loads of potential there.

    1. Hello!
      I get what you mean now that I read the book. After Ray's thing I think it got even more pronounced because it was a key moment for Nick and Cody to really talk and Nick delayed things and so on..and yes, we could've seen a bit more of Nick, even from Cody's perspective!