Forever is the Worst Long Time by Camille Pagán
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the very first page of FOREVER IS THE WORST LONG TIME, the reader is drawn into this ‘un-put-downable’ story of friendship, love and loss, trust and betrayal, redemption and reconciliation.
Camille Noe Pagan writes with an authority and compassionate understanding of the human condition, weaving a rich narrative with a cast of multi-dimensional, layered characters to create a truly compelling read.
James -the dreamer, Rob- the fatalist, Lou- the poet and woman who loved too well… this trio of friends and lovers is beautifully, almost heart-breakingly, real… are “center-stage” in this ‘drame de l’amour’.
Camille’s characters are brilliantly written, flawed with a ‘human-ness’ that makes them relatable on so many levels to the reader. As their story unfolds – told through the voice of James, with an honesty that is both open and at times brutal, imbued with a wisdom that belies the age of the narrator… the characters’ “layers” are revealed, pulling the reader through a range of emotions… love, hate, despair, hope… to an ending that will have the reader reaching for a box of tissues.
“Every event is different to those who have lived it, those who have witnessed it, and those who only later read of it.” This is one of my favorite lines in the book.
James only ever wanted to write a novel… something important. That was his dream. But from the first moment his eyes settle on his best friend’s fiancée, that dream begins to unravel.
Lou is a woman who loves too well and when the man she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with betrays her love, Lou’s heart finds a safe harbor in James… Jim, as she calls him. It suits him better than James, she told him when they first met. Jim, already hopelessly smitten and deeply conflicted, falls the rest of the way in love with Lou. It’s a short fall.
Neither know it yet, but their lives will be irrevocably changed.
Rob is undeserving of Lou. On every level. He sees betrayal as an absolute and the truth as shades of grey. He plays the role of the “wronged”, ironically unaware of his own duplicity.
We all make choices. And there are often consequences that we are not prepared to deal with. But deal with we must.
James, Lou, and Rob find their lives turned upside down and inside out as they grapple with the choices they have made and the choices they will make. They too will eventually have to deal with the consequences of their actions.
More than anything else, FOREVER IS THE WORST LONG TIME is a story of hope. It is a story of human frailty, of needs and desires and compromises and an uncertain future.
Love can come in a heartbeat. And end even faster.
Love can also be a long, slow “fall”.
One that can last a lifetime.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
(Writing under a large mushroom somewhere in the Pacific Northwest)
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