Verdict: A personal, immersive epistolary record of the author’s unconventional relationship.
In AND THEN THERE WERE THREE, Fox tells the story of her unconventional three-person relationship through a series of sixty-seven letters addressed to her beloved.
Our narrator is sitting down to breakfast with her husband one morning when, over toast, she discovers that he used to be in love with a gay man. George’s romance twenty-five years earlier was bittersweet, as it was marked by the time’s abiding disgust of homosexuality—particularly in the former Soviet Union, where Sasha was from. When, urged on by her curiosity, Fox and her husband seek out Sasha, eventually finding him through a friend, her life changes forever. Almost immediately, she feels a kind of magnetism towards Sasha she’s never experienced before, and before long she, George, and Sasha fall into a confused but elated three-person relationship; full of weekend visits to foreign destinations, vodka-drinking, deep conversations and often-graphically described shared physical intimacy. It isn’t long before she comes to a heartfelt realization.
Though these letters, the characters’ complex pasts slowly come to light. Sasha’s secrets, unlocked by vodka, illuminate the unique perspective of a gay man growing up in a repressive, post-Communist regime: “Through the years, it affected your psyche in ways that astonish me,” observes Fox. “…you are not even thinking of yourself as gay but a normal heterosexual man who once in a while likes to sleep with other men.” Meanwhile, the author struggles with her consuming love for Sasha and her repeated, heartbreaking wishes she were a man; Sasha struggles with his sexuality; and the narrator must make a difficult decision. As the relationship hurtles towards an inevitable endpoint, Fox masterfully imbues her memories with a sense of longing and foreboding that embodies the fragility of the relationship: “On the days you fell asleep with the two of us …from sheer exhaustion and overabundance of alcohol, you used to wake up in the middle of the night, gently pull your shoulder away from under my cheek, and leave the room,” she writes, “the heat of your body slowly disappearing and George’s snoring becoming louder and more disturbing.” While brief, this novel is like the memory described here—wrenching, fleeting and beautiful.
A personal, immersive epistolary record of the author’s unconventional relationship. ~IndieReader .