Not only are the two characters’ names left out of the introductions, but throughout the novel they only refer to each other as “I” and “you.” Their genders are never revealed to the reader. With other characters, various love affairs occur that are both heterosexual and homosexual. Brianna, who is married to Brian, is having an affair with Felice while Brian has a love affair with Nadine. By showing various types of relationships, the authors are suggesting that love is a universal language and that sexuality is not limited by gender. In the chapters where the reader does not have the characters names, we are forced to look at the relationship for what it is rather than relying on gender indicators. It is still rare to see a spectrum of sexual identities in fiction, especially when the character's sexuality isn't the focus of the conflict. Colen and Guess are normalizing these identities while emphasizing the idea a relationship between two people is about a strong connection that you can’t ignore, and sexual identity doesn’t change that.
Additionally, each chapter of this novel is not only told by a different perspective, but also takes on a different genre of writing. Many chapters, such as “[*]” and “50th Anniversary of a Man-made Lake,” are told in poetic/flash form and the reader must try to put together the clues. One of the most suspenseful chapters, “A Fistful of Keys,” highlights Nadine’s and Brian’s confrontation in a one-act play. This switching of genres and perspectives persists throughout the whole novel. While the reader is not quite sure where they are, they cannot help flipping back and forth through the pages to try and solve the mystery.
The genius of both Colen and Guess should be applauded. They are able to use recurring themes in today’s society, such as sex and violence, in different forms of writing yet still have it play out like a well-written symphony. Through this eerie plot line, not only do Colen and Guess have us question the structure of society, but also the unlimited possibilities of genre. Despite some confusion, the suspension of disbelief is so lively that you must read on and discover more.