NORTH AND LEFT FROM HERE (TAKE II) – Veronica Clayton

North And Left inside yourself

Away with the myth that the scene is a welcoming haven for the woman who feels her life needs spicing up. Away with the myth that being alone is cool, that a search inward and solitude are the answers to one’s emotional vacuum.

Alexandra Delaforêt is thirty-five and a half, down, ‘not out’ but she is at an emotional all-time low. Nothing looms ahead but more of the same pleasant but unchallenging routine she’s been following for the past year hand a half, ever since Tamara, her most recent lover, has departed. This novel is about loneliness, a state many of us would have encountered by now, a state many of us would be very familiar with.

Alex doesn’t subscribe anymore to ‘Band-Aid’ quick-fix sexual stopovers that have, in the past, tied her over for a month, for three, for six. She does not want yet another false start and so, while she longs for something different to kick start her life again, her introspective moods take her back to moments in her life where she was involved, in love, in lust, in danger, abandoned even – but moments where she felt emotionally alive.

North and Left From Here (Take II), sexier, faster paced than C.C. Saint-Clair’s original novel, invites the reader to identify with the universal feelings underlying these self-reflective musings and, with the different perspectives offered by the supporting characters, to gain insights into some of her own motives and actions.

Alex’s reflexions are simple, real but electric. They stem from the primeval yearning for emotional love. The first person narration pulls the reader right inside Alex’s head allowing her to feel, albeit vicariously, senses a-tingle, the rush of desire, the fear of rejection, the ache of lust, and thwarting of a self-esteem that needs pumping up. Each as a separate vignette is a part of Alex’s past.

In (Take II), C.C. Saint-Clair has structured her plot around a series of poignant, emotionally charged flashbacks and these sensual snapshots of memory make for a multi-layered, intimate portrayal of one woman’s journey that span years, as well as continents. This author’s ability to link sensuality and desire to social realism resonates in the reader in a way that traditional lesbian romance fails to approximate.

On a rainy day, North and Left From Here (Take II) is a great read. It’s a great read to on a sunny day. It’s a great read if you feel on top of the world. It’s a great read if, like Alex, you want more than what you have. If, like Alex, you want to stop finding yourself in emotional dead ends.