Tallie Clark is a 40-year old therapist with her own practice in Kentucky. She’s recently divorced after a 10-year marriage to a man she thought she’d be with the rest of her life. But Joel is remarried to the woman he cheated on her with and they have the baby she thought they’d have together.
One rainy Thursday evening as she’s crossing the bridge over the Ohio River, she sees a man climb over the railing, clearly preparing to jump. She gets his attention and convinces him to stop and join her in her car. They go for coffee as she attempts to get him to talk, anything to disrupt his apparent plan to end his life. He’s not giving up much information but finally agrees to accompany her back to her house and tells her his name, Emmett. Tallie and Emmett spend the entire weekend together, she trying to give him a safe space and him grappling with the wreckage of his life.
What an extraordinary story this turned out to be! I was expecting it to follow some of the traditional patterns you’d normally find in these type situations but there’s nothing predictable here, not in the characters or in the telling. Both Tallie and Emmett share their most inner feelings with each other while harboring secrets about themselves, primarily what she does for a living and what really pushed him to the edge of that bridge. The writing is simply extraordinary, lyrical and poetic at times and deeply honest and raw at others. What’s abundantly clear is their finding each other was serendipitous, and that’s an understatement.
I had the hardcover edition but switched to the audio version when it became available at my library. I loved the narrators as their interpretations of their respective characters did justice to the eloquent writing. Tallie was a lovely, generous soul who was the sign Emmett was seeking and he did just as much to heal what was broken in her. This was a tender story that I could have listened to forever.
- Release Date: February 2, 2021
- Narrators: Kamali Minter & Zeno Robinson
- Audio Length: 9 hours, 46 minutes
- Publisher: Hachette Audio & Grand Central Publishing
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(Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)