Tony’s travels expose him to cultural delights and spin him into the orbits of fellow voyagers and generous, gregarious locals. Valletta’s loving attention to detail brings Tony’s, destinations to life, and the people Tony encounters are true examples of humanity–from the woman who pays for his hotel stay one evening to the Irish gents with whom he shares a meal, a pint, and local tall tales of flying saucers (“While they were talkin’ the spaceman asked if it were true that the Irish believe in wife-swapping.”)
The novel functions more as a travelogue than a cohesive story, with little in the way of plot or narrative momentum. The dialogue at times is stilted, and readers will be left wondering about unresolved story points, such as Tony’s relationship with his father and the next steps in his relationship with Meaghan, the barkeep he meets in Donegal. On the positive, Valletta offers engaging details about his travels, from curious train bathrooms to camping in Irish rainstorms, and readers will be easily pulled into Tony’s musings on family dynamics, the ins and outs of depression, and the simple acts of human kindness that can transform lives.
Takeaway: This European travelogue follows one American’s journey toward romance.
Great for fans of: Kristin Newman’s What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, Rob Spillman’s All Tomorrow’s Parties.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B