Open: A Tale of Love, Mermaids, Bassists, & Creepy Dudes – Emilie Nantel

While this book wasn’t for me, I found it very promising nevertheless. It’s nicely written, especially for a debut novel, and asks interesting questions about love, polyamory and open relationships.

Amy is young and in an open relationship with David, a situation she’s determined to take full advantage of. Her partners’ gender doesn’t matter to her, as long as she fancies them.

There is not much of a story at first, more a string of encounters with various people, some Amy likes more than others. I get that the point is to set the scene for the way the character will grow but it gets a little repetitive. Anyways, as long as it’s just sex, everything works perfectly. Then feelings get involved and Amy realises she’s not so good at balancing everything anymore.

The way Amy and David navigate the changes in their relationship is inspiring and obviously, communication is key, even more than in more traditional relationships. I also thought it was interesting how two of the most significant relationships (besides the main one, with David) stem from mistakes Amy makes: the first one she forgets to tell the guy she already has a boyfriend and the second one is with her best friend, with whom she has sex one time when they’re both drunk, effectively ending their friendship. Then, when she’s ready to give up dating altogether, she meets Emma.

Among the things I really liked is the gallery of secondary characters, especially Amy’s group of friends and how diverse they are, in ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation… There’s also a nice relationship between Amy and her younger sister Charlotte, who turns eighteen at the beginning of the story, and who Amy is getting to know as an adult.

The story is set in Montreal, which is a nice change, and (that shouldn’t surprise anyone) I love the bilingual feel.

All in all, despite not completely holding my attention all the way, this was an interesting read, and I’ll keep an eye out for Emilie Nantel’s next book.

3 stars

Open @ Emilie Nantel’s website

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