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Book Review - After Ben (Seattle Stories), by Con Riley

After Ben - Con Riley

The emotions that have surged through me during this novel! The giggle-snorts and the sad tears. I have journeyed with Theo after Ben, and I have seen what Theo saw, I have felt what Theo felt.


I have had all the emotions: The aching after losing a loved one. (“For years he had bruised his nose, pressing it against the buzzer until Ben opened the door for him.”)


The excitement of tumbling around on the net, finding friends who are easier to deal with than your real life ones. (“Theo sat in his bed, pink cheeked, wide awake, and smiling.”)


The giggles as Theo tries to get his bearings again. Like when he watches the two interns meet on his street between interviews—the two who later fall in love with each other at his office. (“This was the most entertainment he’d had in… forever.”)


Or: (“When the tall man looked up at Theo and winked, Theo walked right into a rack of shirts.”)


And then the love. The surging, all-encompassing feeling that just needs an outlet. The feeling that makes you race around the globe, running like the wind, to look deeply into a lover’s eyes and tell him that you are in love with him.

*happy sigh*


I adore Morgan. Absolutely adore him. God, I love an intelligent man. A well-versed, confrontational, intellectual man. (“Pissed and amused was pure Morgan.”)


I love how Morgan connects with Theo on the net, how they play and live and have fun, without knowing who they are in real life. How those moments, at the end of the day, (and later also in the beginning of each day), become moments to live for, moments that make you NOT give up.

Sheer brilliance.


Made me cry huge, salty, happy and sad tears. Anyone who has suffered loss, and later, the revival of spirit, can relate to the words in this novel.


The parts of Italian family-life that emerge in a short section of this novel is so spot-on that I found myself giggling almost hysterically. Yes, I live in Italy. No, I am not Italian, so I look at this funny society a little bit from the outside. I love it, and Con Riley has captured the animus of a Milanese family so well it truly cracks me up.


Oh, yes, Ben came from this crazy, incredible and loving place, for sure. His little brother Marco killed me with his happy-go-lucky (!) attitude and huge insight. Brilliant character, and lovingly described.


As I sit here and write these words, I find I am wearing a wolfish grin stretching from one ear to the other. Marco does that to me.


(Con Riley, if it would please you, next time you are in Milan, the caffé in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is on me. I can also show you where to dig your heels in, for luck. On a bull’s balls, no less. No kidding.)


I am happy to know that there are more books coming in this series, as I feel lonely without Theo. So much so that I have started over from the beginning. I would recommend this first novel in The Seattle Stories, to all who love to read about Love, in itself, for itself, wherever it came from and whomever may be involved; a must read for lovers of Love is Love as a concept.


This is a finely tuned story about losing your life partner and about what comes next, when you try to live again, by yourself. It is heart-breaking and beautiful, and happy and funny.


Con Riley has a witty language-streak and possesses true mastery of the English language, with very few typos/errors, for those who care about that sort of thing. (I know I do—yes, I’m slightly (ha!) OCD when it comes to these matters).


I shall be following this author closely.


Here there be monster-emotions.




I was NOT asked to read this book by anyone. I did, however, receive it as a present, so for once I did not pay with my own money. However, I would have bought this ebook if it hadn’t been given to me, and I am right now considering getting a printed copy, to put in my bookshelf. Yes, it is that good.


ETA: 18 August 2013—Just read this again, and the emotions are even greater. 

How is this possible.


Source: http://AnnaLund2011.booklikes.com/post/201636/after-ben