Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is–and what he’s willing to do to make her stay.
Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough….
And so begins the story of an obsession that takes over the lives of Clara and everyone she loves. In alternating chapters, veering between the past and the present, and in Clara’s first person narrative, we learn how the love began and where it all led. Like most things about our emotions, even when we see the red flags and hear the warning bells, we are sure that we can still control things. That we can stop the bad things from coming.
Learning the lesson about how little control we have is Clara’s story and the core of Stay, a thoughtful and provocative glimpse of love gone wrong. As Clara and her father settle in to a beach town outside of Seattle, surrounded by islands and the whole aura of the sea and a lighthouse, we also experience with them the idyllic moments when it seems as thought life can start over. That the past can be gone. And we live through the glaring awareness that nothing could be further from the truth.
What will happen to ultimately show Clara and her father that sometimes the past cannot disappear, even if we want it to do so? I like this excerpt near the end that shows us that we don’t actually have a lot of control:
“Our memories and the events of our lives are untidy things. We wish that we could file them away and shut the door, or we wish the opposite–that they would stay with us forever. You want to banish that remembrance of a tight hold on your ankle, a rope under a bed, the amber-colored medicine bottles of your father’s, the door your mother slams after a night of too much wine and jealousy…But the images are all wild things that will do what they wish….”
I loved the characters, the settings, and the message of this story. Recommended for anyone who has ever been in love with the wrong person. Five stars.