The story is one of passion found, love lost, where we witness people drifting in and out. It is one that does not shy away from mistakes, from the lies we tell each other, and most importantly, the ones we tell ourselves. This book’s main strength is its characters, specifically the main protagonist, and the journey she goes on to discover herself.
I love the back cover synopsis, so here it goes:
Angela Dunnewad’s sense of self, of direction, is fraying. She finds herself lost and alone despite a calendar full of society events, charity meetings, shopping dates, and dinners her aloof husband expects her to attend. Her best friend is a vivacious flirt, but Angela only strays when she discovers a young drifter haunting the grounds of her house. Desire to be intimate unlocks the need for achievement. Angela becomes unrecognizable to her peers and to herself. Legter’s new novels offers betrayal, passion, secrets, and truth all from inside a world that threatens to suffocate to the vanishing point.
What I loved about the characters, were their dimensions. They had substance and incredible history. Since this book is really all about characters and personal journeys, this is absolutely crucial to the story. Without the nuances, they would be lost, paper thin and able to blow away in the wind.
What I especially liked, in terms of the intersection between characters and plot, was the way the novel continued after the ‘climax’ of the story. It doesn’t offer off a neat resolution. It respects human’s inabilities, limitations, and failures. And for this, we keep reading, because I think in this second half is where Legters shines.
She becomes tentative because she’s scared; once taken over that edge into that particular and peculiar unconsciousness, once taken to that singular distant site, she might be unwilling or unable to come back. (Legters, 25)
It is in these pages where I see the main departure point from some classics that this novel echoes, such as Lady Chatterly’s Lover and The Awakening. This is where I see the fruition of all the little mentions and clues from before, and the space is afforded to the characters for them to take up the reins of their destiny, even the side ones.
‘It’s hard to feel guilty when no one knows where I live.’ (Legters, 43)
I have to mention one of my favorite techniques that Legters uses, besides her use of many reoccurring and haunting symbols (especially of the painted ballerina): parallel talking. The characters are having conversations with each other, but on different levels, completely missing each other. This wonderful dissonance just illustrates how little they know each other. A big theme in the novel is the ‘fabrications’ we put on for others. What Legters does phenomenally is illustrate the fabrications of all the characters, even the side ones, in a way that inspires each of them to look inside themselves.
What Legters manages to do is update the classics, by giving them diversity, new light, and by expanding their characters. Vanishing Point was such a fun book to read. It was extremely detailed, introspective, and fulfilling at the ending. At its heart it is a story of human exploration, not of outer space, but of our inner space. It asks us questions that, despite the years, we still don’t have answers to: how do we find meaning for ourselves? If you’re a fan of The Awakening and Lady Chatterly’s Lover in the setting of Stepford Wives this is the book for you.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
What is your favorite classic novel?
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