*I received a free copy of Everything You And I Could Have Been If We Weren't You And I from Penguin via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *Everything You And I Could Have Been If We Weren't You And I by Albert Espinosa
Published by Penguin on 2 July 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Can you imagine a future where everyone has given up sleeping?
From the creator of the television series Red Band Society and author of the international bestseller The Yellow World comes this uniquely special novel.
What if I could reveal your secrets with just a glance? And what if I could feel with your heart just by looking at you? And what if --in a single moment-- I could know that we were made for each other? Marcos has just lost his mother, a famous dancer who taught him everything, and he decides that his world can never be the same without her. Just as he is about to make a radical change, a phone call turns his world upside down.
Everything You And I Could Have Been If We Weren’t You And I was a strange and somehow chaotic story, with beautiful prose and a definite feeling of what is and what isn’t important in life (both this and the next).
My Everything You And I… review:
The story itself in Everything You and I… is rather weird, because the narrator jumps back and forth in time, and also changes the subject without any qualms, even if that usually happens at the end of a sentence at least. In this strange universe, many people have taken a drug to stop sleeping. And at the very beginning of the novel, Marcos starts by telling the reader that what he likes best in life is sleeping… Even having a hard time falling asleep, he loves actually being asleep, dreaming, being comfortable, making up a new world in his mind. He goes as far as sharing that he sometimes has wildly erotic dreams about people he knows, only to feel embarrassed to see them the next day. And Marcos has decided to take the drug to stop sleeping. Because his mom died the day before, and the change in his life is so tremendous because of this death he feels like he should make some even more drastic changes himself.
Thus, going from the present, in which Marcos is grieving without fully understanding his own grief, to his past as a child, teenager and young adult – almost always in company of his mother, Everything You And I… is a beautifully written tale about love and loss, the want human beings always have for more, and how depraving ourselves of sleep might make us more efficient in other aspects of our lives. Marcos thinks about the meaning of life, sex and death, while also wondering what happens after death. And while he is getting ready to inject himself with the drug to stop sleeping, two things happen. First, he sees a woman in the middle of the plaza underneath his balcony, and he is utterly mesmerized by her. He sees her waiting, and he observes her as she goes to the theatre all alone, as if she was stood up and didn’t want to wait anymore. Then, his phone rings, he is being called in to work to use his ‘gift’ to see if the stranger in custody is indeed an extraterrestrial being or not.
Did I warn you about the story of Everything You And I… being strange? Why, yes, I did! The beauty of it all, though, was that while the story and plot felt like it was almost non-existent, it was actually ever-present. Marcos had a lot of things to work out in his time of grief, and getting the answers he thought he wanted just complicated things rather than helping him out. Between the woman in the plaza, the stranger and Marcos’ memories of his mother as well as his ‘gift’ Everything You And I… is a deeply philosophical tale about humankind. While reading some sentences out loud to my mom at the beach, I told her it was very strange, very deep, but not stranger than my favorite Paulo Coelho books. And while this story is nothing like Coelho’s, the questions it made me ask myself were of the same kind.
If you are up for an intriguing and philosophical story without tail or head, and you enjoy reading beautiful language just for the pleasure of well-turned phrases and elegantly served words, you should get your hands on this story and enjoy the silence that can inhabit the inside of your heart, or maybe even your oesophagus for a few hours.
Some of my favorite Everything You And I… quotes:
I’ve always thought that dreams are advertisements, some long, like paid programming, others short, like movie trailers and other teasers. And they all speak of our desires. But we don’t understand them because they seem shot by David Lynch.
I felt nervous. I touched my left eye lightly. I always did that when I was nervous or lying; which is why, since I realized it, I almost never do it in public.
I burst into tears. I love that expression. You don’t say someone has burst into a meal or burst into a walk. You burst into tears or into laughter. I think it’s worth bursting into pieces for those feelings.
I’ve always maintained that Dean wasn’t handsome, he was magical. And that his magic was mistaken for beauty.
This book counts toward COYER scavenger hunt item #33: Read a book with a ridiculously long (at least 50 characters, including spaces) title (3 points)
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: