The Remedy for Love
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” was the thought that came to mind as I was reading THE REMEDY FOR LOVE by Bill Roorbach. Never one to deny reading and enjoying a good love story, this grown-up tale was one that I found to expose a very different style and composure --- an ostensible story that is flat-out funny, sexy and romantically thrilling. I can’t deny it, either: it’s the kind of story that pushes all the right buttons on my scorecard.
Indelibly, Roorbach has been able to create a gripping tale of love lost and then found in this novel, nuanced in a narrative filled with tender, terrifying and funny dialogue. By exposing realistic frailties, he reminds us that healing is a human condition, uncovered unconditionally when love is lost, offering up a road map on a bumpy journey. Therefore, THE REMEDY FOR LOVE festers against the elements of nature --- both metaphorically and with demanding reality --- posing as a drama in this love story gone awry.
"Fittingly, THE REMEDY FOR LOVE is an intensely moving and provocatively funny novel, harboring a tale that stokes every human emotion in the amphitheater of love."
Revolving around a snowstorm that is apocalyptic in magnitude, the novel bears no references to global warming, but it does resemble a grown-up, climate-change love story with life-threatening conditions. After all, the main characters --- angry, crazy and seductive Danielle and lonely good guy Eric --- are confined to a tiny cabin in the woods far from anyone, exchanging banter, lies and secrets. Fittingly, it’s an “Enchanted Cottage” storyline, since both embrace a plot unshackled by the transcendent power of love.
As the story goes, because of an impending snowstorm, Eric stops at the grocery store on his way home from work and encounters an unkempt young woman in front of him in the checkout line. Noticing that she is short on change and feeling charitable, he helps her out. Begrudgingly, she accepts his charity and lets him give her a ride home. Once there, however, Danielle seems to be averse to any more help and discourages Eric from following her to the cabin. Not wanting to leave her alone in the woods, he insists on helping her and discovers that the ramshackle building in which she lives is without electricity, heat or running water. Needless to say, he feels obligated to supply her with more groceries and enough wood to keep her stove running throughout the storm. Unfortunately, not all runs smoothly. When Eric ventures out to get more supplies for Danielle, he is quickly engulfed in a snowstorm without a car, a phone or shelter.
Having no choice but to return to Danielle’s cabin, Eric finds himself at her mercy, and he soon realizes that this is not the best place to be. Hanging on a precipice with a hostile and suspicious woman could prove terrifying. Meanwhile, the snow continues to fall, compelling these two opposing forces to ride out the storm in each other’s company --- for better or for worse.
Fittingly, THE REMEDY FOR LOVE is an intensely moving and provocatively funny novel, harboring a tale that stokes every human emotion in the amphitheater of love. And, without skipping a beat, Roorbach reiterates that there is no time or space for artifice when untangling the premise of “love gone wrong” in his harrowing tale. So I think he got it right when he revealed the meaning of the title. By allowing Danielle to paraphrase Henry David Thoreau’s argument that the only remedy for love is to love more, he provided an outlet for the concept of love gone awry. Left with the question of whether or not this remedy will work, well, maybe that should be saved for a sequel.
Reviewed by Donna Smallwood on November 14, 2014