Red Wheelbarrow Book Reviews
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Banishing Verona by Margot Livesey
Picador USA (Paperback, 368pp)
The reviews of this book have almost all described it as a love story. But that is not true. It is the story of Zeke, a twenty-nine year old man who has Asperger's syndrome and who is trying to live his life. His needs are above all for order, for regularity, for predictability. He needs to understand and to control what he can manage. But chaos enters his world by way of a young woman who is thirty seven years old and seven months pregnant. Father unknown. Most love stories describe the relationship between two lovers. The two protagonists, Zeke and Verona, meet only twice in the course of the story, sleep together the first night and do not see one another again until almost the last page.
The book deals with the complications of both of their lives. It reads like a detective novel on the one hand and on the other it is the most delicate and beautifully realized portrait of this young man who sees the world in literal and concrete terms, who has profound difficulties in understanding what seem to him to be the incomprehensible and ever changing feelings of those around him.
"Zeke was struck again by the unknowable nature of other people. Other things, when you get close, reveal themselves - clocks, doorbells, trains, wallpaper steamers - but humans only grew more puzzling with proximity....in the shadowy darkness there was nothing tangible to count."
His greatest fear is of change. The struggle to try to live with change is the subject of this beautifully realized novel.