On the morning after a party that she barely remembers, Dani Keller awakens to the odd sound of the boat pounding against the dock…and a feeling of something not quite right. Almost immediately, though, we are gifted with a view of Dani’s world, living on a houseboat with a gorgeous view of Seattle. I connected to the story right away because of these details. And then I would further connect by the situation that slowly unfolds.
For one thing, her husband Ian is nowhere around, and as the day progresses, irritation turns to fear, and ultimately to panic as more time goes by.
Ian is Dani’s second husband, and the two were married to other people when they met. Their infidelities would follow them and haunt them, even as they believed they were soul mates.
In this story that wrapped itself around me and plumbed the depths, excavating all the feelings that resonate for anyone who has ever been in a relationship or had an extramarital affair, I held my breath. Slowly the possibilities of what might have happened to Ian are ticked off, as if from a list, leaving very few answers that anyone wants to live with.
I loved how Dani’s introspective journey led us right into the muck of her interior world, reminding me of my own experiences with relationships. How she needed rescue, and thought that was what was happening when she turned to Ian. But then she discovered that we all carry ourselves into each relationship, and somehow turn to new situations that are not that different from the one before. Our situations did not destroy us, but we are “destroyed… by the ways in which we’d inevitably, with time, revealed ourselves.”
Even as I began to think I knew what would happen next, or what would be revealed about Ian’s disappearance, I was surprised. And then…not so much. He’s Gone: A Novel was a totally engrossing story that kept me reading long into the night, with its internal explorations, the realistic characters, and the feelings it evoked. Five stars.