Publishing year: 2016
In this new novel one of the main characters is Janie, who goes to Trinidad alone for her thirty-ninth birthday.
There she meets a man who starts talking to her. Janie knows that he is married, but he draws her to him with his charm. The next day he invites her to visit some nature centre with him, and when they return, they go for a walk on the beach. It is there that he kisses her and they end up making love even though Janie knows it is a bad idea, but right now that is what she thinks feels right for her.
At the end of the chapter, we know that as a consequence, Janie got pregnant and had a son, Noah, and the only thing she knows about his father is his first name, Jeff. The novel moves forward in time. Noah is four years old, and we can see that he is a very peculiar boy. He abhors water, and in his school teachers keep telling Janie that she needs to work on this issue. He doesn’t even like washing his hands, so Janie has to use wet wipes to clean her son’s hands.
Noah is also quite precocious, and Janie is puzzled by some of the things that he knows. The last thing the headteacher has told her is about his knowledge of Harry Potter, and Janie has never read the books or seen the films. So she gathers that some other boy has told him about Harry Potter.
That night Janie has a blind date with Bob, who after talking on the phone for an hour and finding that they have so much in common she is eager to meet. When she tells Noah, he is unhappy and begs her to stay at home. Janie keeps firm, and when she is getting ready to go out, she finds Noah covered in egg, something he has done to thwart her intentions. Janie baths him, which is a terrible ordeal as he keeps crying, bellowing, and writhing. As a consequence, Janie finds herself bleeding from an ear that Noah has bitten. She knows that the date is off, and with a heavy heart he cancels the night out. Then Noah keeps telling her he wants to go home with his other mother, which is something that he has done before. That is quite creepy and interesting. Does this mean that this boy remembers his previous identity? And why does he hate water so much? That is really strange.
Apart from Janey and her little boy, we meet Jerry, a psychiatrist, in his 60s or 70s, who is told that he has some kind of dementia affecting his communicative skills. Jerry is aghast. We know that he is alone. He is a widow and has no other family. I am curious to see how this character is linked to Janey and Noah.