In this moving and enormously entertaining debut novel, longtime romantic partners Kathryn and Chris experiment with an open relationship and reconsider everything they thought they knew about love.
After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris have the sort of relationship most would envy. They speak in the shorthand they have invented, complete one another’s sentences, and help each other through every daily and existential dilemma. When Chris tells Kathryn about his feelings for Emily, a vivacious young woman he sees often at the Laundromat, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend to pursue this other woman—certain that her bond with Chris is strong enough to weather a little side dalliance.
As Kathryn and Chris stumble into polyamory, Next Year, For Sure tracks the tumultuous, revelatory, and often very funny year that follows. When Chris’s romance with Emily grows beyond what anyone anticipated, both Chris and Kathryn are invited into Emily’s communal home, where Kathryn will discover new romantic possibilities of her own. In the confusions, passions, and upheavals of their new lives, both Kathryn and Chris will be forced to reconsider their past and what they thought they knew about love.
Offering a luminous portrait of a relationship from two perspectives, Zoey L. Paterson has written an empathic, beautiful, and tremendously honest novel about a great love pushed to the edge. Deeply poignant and hugely entertaining, Next Year, For Sure shows us what lies at the mysterious heart of relationships, and what true openness and transformation require.
This was a rather intriguing story with an ending I very much enjoyed.
The writing was challenging. It had little punctuation, with no quotation marks offsetting speech ever. While I think this can be an incredibly effective technique, it distracted from the actual premise of the book. Instead of adding meaning to the story, it made it feel as though the author were trying to be overly literary.
Emily as a character felt too perfect. I wanted her to screw up, to do something wrong, but she instead continually did what one would expect her to be doing as the perfect version of her character type would.
Kathryn felt a tad uninvited, and I was sad for her, too. She had lost friends because of a previous relationship and it took this book to see her really socialise again and even then she lost one of the few people who she had been close to prior. Reading about her felt a little bit depressing.
I really appreciated the honesty in Kathryn and Chris's relationship. It was refreshing to see characters talk about their crushes on other people and to understand that love isn't always linear. I was almost disappointed by the ending though I think it was well deserved.
If the concept really intrigues you, read this book, but despite enjoying the plot I found the actual telling to be dry.