The clanging sailboats and the wind in the trees and the groaning dock and that wide, wide night sky say only one thing back. He’s gone, they say. He’s gone, the darkness and the empty street say, too.
I've read and enjoyed several novels for teens written by Deb Caletti, most memorably The Nature of Jade and The Story of Us (invest in some Kleenex before reading that one). What consistently struck me most about Caletti's novels is that she develops backstory with a slow-burn reveal. It's subtle and effective.
When I learned last year that she was publishing an adult novel, He's Gone, it quickly became one of my much-anticipated 2013 reads, as I was certain Caletti's style which I knew from her young adult fiction would likely translate well to a novel dealing with adult issues.
He's Gone did not disappoint in terms of twisty backstory, and while it definitely heads in a darker direction than fans of Caletti's YA novels may be accustomed to, this unusual journey into the secrets of a marriage is both fascinating and mysterious.
Memory is such a sadistic, temperamental little beast.
He's Gone unfolds from the first-person perspective of Dani Keller, who wakes up after a night out at a part with her husband, Ian, only to find that he's disappeared. Dani doesn't know what happened, as she unwisely combined painkillers and booze in order to cope with the stress of attending a party at Ian's company.
The novel focuses on the aftermath of Ian's disappearance and Dani's struggle to figure where he went and why he disappeared. Did he leave? Was he having an affair? Is Dani responsible? Was their marriage in jeopardy? Was nothing of Dani and Ian's life together as it seemed?
There is that dream, and that memory, and those damn pills. A black hole of forgetting and remembering. Is there a secret self I am not willing to see? If it was me, if I have done something … Please, let it not be so. I need to stop this mad, pointless unraveling, this panicked fluttering. I am making fools of the good people around me.