Landline by Rainbow Rowell


Landline: A Novel


I picked up this book knowing absolutely nothing about its synopsis; I downloaded it just because it was in a list of best fiction (‘Books you should read in 2014’ or something along those lines) .
So much so, I started this book with much lower expectation.

This book took me by surprise – little did I imagine this book would be this emotional and compelling!

The story starts off with Georgie’s marriage being on the rocks.
Neal and Georgie have been married for 15 years and blessed with two little daughters. They seem to have been doing okay, but it actually hasn’t been Okay at all; Georgie has always upset Neal in some ways – she has always put work before her family, almost always.

Just before they’re supposed to leave for Omaha -Neal’s hometown – to visit his mother, Georgie breaks bad news to Neal; she tells him that she can’t go because a big opportunity in her career has come up. Again, she puts her work over her family and it terribly upsets Neal.
The next day, the whole family sets out for Omaha leaving Georgie and it leaves a bad taste in her mouth. She had never imagined Neal would pack up and leave without her. She has somewhat taken for granted that Neal would concede. Well, this time he wouldn’t.

From that point onward, however hard Georgie tries she just can’t get through to Neal.
Only with an old yellow telephone in her childhood bedroom in her mother’s place, she gets to talk with Neal – Neal back in 1998.

This is not exactly a time-travel fiction, but I thought the plot was really interesting.

The author did a great job in unraveling Neal’s character; although ‘Real’ Neal only appears in the beginning and the last few chapters, through Georgie’s recollection of every small detail of Neal and how they had developed their relationship, I found myself drawn to him as I read along.
I would say that I literally fell in love with Neal.
He’s reticent and a man of few words, but when he speaks, he speaks to my heart. Every single word he utters carries an incredibly strong weight on me. His words literally swallow me up and rock my soul to the core.

That was definitely not what I had expected.

Georgie’s desperate attempts to get ahold of Neal also served amazingly to heighten the tension and I could feel her mounting affection for Neal as more desperate she becomes; it almost broke my heart.
I didn’t particularly love Georgie; there were a lot of things that I just couldn’t relate to her, but her near-desperate want of Neal was expressed spectacularly; so intense, so compelling, it was just heart-wrenching.
In addition to that, the shift in her perspective toward her work and life was also beautifully and dramatically described through her actions that she takes in the end. I was completely hooked by the end of the book.

I found the writing was also very explicit and strong, yet I’m afraid to say I didn’t particularly like Georgie’s inner voices in brackets; the author inserts too many inner voices even in the middle of what seems like a grave, hopeless situation. Inner voices are usually fine with me, but the vast majority of her inner voices was in a inquisitive, self-question form. It may have been an attempt to reflect Georgie’s character as a comedy writer, but personally, I found it kind of distracting. It spoiled the heightened, intense tension and I didn’t like her trying to make light of the situation which is not at all supposed to be subject to ridicule.

Despite that, I still adore this book. This is definitely going to be one of my favorite books in the year 2016.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend picking this one. This is another book that made me realize there’s definitely something in hype books that draws people’s attention. For me, it lived up to the hype it has gotten. Highly, strongly recommend it.


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