Q.W.E.R.T.Y – A Haunting, by Barbara Avon
by Anca Antoci
Author: Barbara Avon
Amazon: 4.30 (buy)
Our review: 5.00 (read)
Q.W.E.R.T.Y. is a gut-wrenching story of love and loss, beautifully worded in a way that haunts you. Is this a Holloween story? I don’t know. It does have a healthy dose of spookiness and otherworldly experience, yet I feel like the main plot was Luke’s grief-induced madness, which is incredibly human. Going through the five stages of grief, he pushes everyone away and gets stuck in depression, watching his life spiraling down the drain.
The story follows Luke, a writer who lost the love of his life in a car crash and has a difficult time coping with survivor’s guilt and the loss of his wife, Claudia.
“Winter’s gentle snow failed to cleanse him as he sat at the foot of her grave, telling her stories she could never hear.
I want to hold you again like I used to hold you. I want to hear your laugh and see your smile. My wedding ring, I didn’t see it as an endless circle of love, but more as the gaping hole in my heart that you were sent to fill. You wanted to go for a ride that day. You loved the rain. It brought you solace and comfort. You wanted to dance naked in it. You always were the devil in a dress. I want to come to you now but I’m afraid. I’m a coward. I…need more whisky.”
Everything changes when he inherits an old Remington typewriter from his aunt, and he realizes that everything he types becomes real. He sees this as an opportunity to bring Claudia back, and he does, temporarily. She admonishes him for that saying that now she’ll die all over again. And she does.
When he decides to die with her and be at peace, life (or the haunted typewriter) throws him a curveball, and he wakes up at his house.
“He paced his living room, admonishing himself by beating himself in the head with the whisky bottle. “Stupid Luke. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!” On impact, he was transported back to his house in a dizzying Dorothy-like fashion.”
Barbara has a way with words that makes you feel every bit of hope and despair Luke feels. His inner turmoil and desperate actions make you wonder at times if the magic is real or maybe it’s all in his head.
The story is sprinkled with flashbacks of sweet moments Luke and Claudia shared that make you connect with their love story and feel deeply for his loss.
Good. Now let’s go,” he said standing and pulling her by the hand.
“The place where dreams are made.”
She raised her eyebrows at him, “The bedroom?”
“Nah. The kitchen…”
The end of the story is bittersweet and unexpected, and I’m not going to spoil that for you.
Buy the book, read the story and keep tissues at hand!
There was one tinny little detail (utterly insignificant in the grand scheme of things) that bugged me in Q.W.E.R.T.Y. and it’s in this quote:
You are amazing, baby. You do have talent. I mean, no one can make a tiramisu like yours.”
“That’s just baking,” she said, puffing on her smoke.
Can you tell what it is?